Amid the death and destruction that marked the times, one consulting group came on the scene to setup an “employee involvement” 1 initiative with union leadership and company management. The intent was to alter the oftentimes contentious union-company relationship whereby the two could build a mutually beneficial future going forward.
This effort started with a joint steering committee structure consisting of membership from the union and the company. Collectively, they developed shared goals (related to the survival of both, most of all!) and modeled the kind of collaborative behavior they expected the proliferation of teams they commissioned on the shop floor to follow. By design, the cross-boundary participation from the bargaining unit, support services, and first-line supervision, area by area, would derive energy from the exchange of different views, experiences, and ideas within a formal team-building framework. Then, when applied to issues and opportunities within the purviews of the teams, would yield sufficient benefit to justify doing it.
Finally, something that offered hope for the future I could sink my teeth into. Based on my qualifications, I transferred to Human Resources as the internal consultant for change management working with the external consulting team to implement the Employee Involvement process—the fourth major career move in six years.