Now is the time to put courageous leadership into action urged Mark Breslin, keynote speaker at the March 2010 Partners in Progress conference in Las Vegas.
“It’s time to change the mind-set,“ he stressed. “Growth before profit is the game we need to get back in. We are not experiencing an economic downturn; it is a market shift.”
Despite a less than vibrant economy, attendance at SMACNA and the SMWIA’s Partners in Progress conference beat previous attendance records. Most attendees indicated they were looking for new ideas—something the conference agenda delivered time and time again.
“The flaw of any labor-management partnership is thinking that labor and management can solve their problems without including the rank and file members on the team,” Breslin explained.
“Currently, these people are unengaged; but this is within our power to change,” he said. “It’s time to let them know about your business, your opportunities and your challenges. After all, one day it’s going to be their house.”
Delivering on the conference theme, “driving change and creating opportunities,” Breslin offered up suggestions to help the group make a difference. Some of the “gold nuggets” summarized from regional breakout sessions were:
Technology: Break down the member resistance to technology. Make technology training mandatory.
Training: Spotlight JATC best practices. Select JATCs that do an exceptional job in certain areas such as service, residential, etc. Add business courses to the curriculum for those interested in supervisory positions.
Work Force Recruitment: Give apprentices college credits toward college degrees. Recruit from tech schools. Consider aptitude and attitude testing for all new hires. Offer an apprentice leadership award.
Competition Strategies: Create multi-tiered compensation contracts based on job type.
Strategic Planning: Do labor management strategic planning during the three to four years between negotiations.
Visit the Partners Web site for full conference coverage and all of the PowerPoint presentations.
To view photographs from the Partners conference, visit Carl Cox Photo then click on “Storefront 1” and enter event code 23288Wsmacna.