The Evolution of Labor Day

The Evolution of Labor Day

The Evolution of Labor Day

We’re excited to welcome David Savage as a guest blogger to Develop Everybody. With Labor Day celebrations happening this weekend in the U.S., our minds were thinking about collaboration in the workplace. And we couldn’t think of a better person to turn to than our fellow 36 Dollar 360 user, David. Having recently published a book on the topic, you can count on his expertise in the area of collaboration and how it can take you “from challenge and complexity to innovation and success.”


What’s Labor Day got to do with collaboration?

Let’s start by describing the labor movement. In early to mid-19th century, working people began to organize together to rally for better working conditions and treatment from their employers. Working with each other and with the help of their governments, they were able to implement a series of labor and employment laws that addressed working conditions and treatment of employees. This hard work is the very reason Labor Day is celebrated to this day.

Changes in Economy, Culture, and Labor

History informs us that, too often, the rights, compensation, safety, and lives of the “worker” have been ignored and under-valued. Still today in many workplaces in our world, workers are poorly treated and die on the worksite. We observe Labor Day in celebration of the worker. And when we pit worker against owner against shareholder against community, we all lose.

In 2016, labor versus management is, in many organizations, an outdated perspective. Innovative leaders are active at all levels of organizations and they’re finding new, innovative ways to break through the old ways of working together. As we shift from command-and-control management styles to collaborative leadership, let’s also change the standards that we operate under. Compare the business paradigms below, and consider where you fit today and where you choose to fit tomorrow.

Old business paradigm:

  • Highly structured, top down
  • Short-term economics on capital projects that are developed in silos
  • Incentives paid based on yearly performance, getting projects built as planned on time and on budget
  • Corporate cultures that see people and resources only as inputs
  • “Us vs. them” attitudes
  • “We are not responsible for …” mentality

New business paradigm:

  • Highly agile, flexible and matrix or flat
  • Holistic, longer-term view of the business
  • Recognize the impact on our environment, our communities, and our economies long term
  • No longer see ourselves or the impacts of our business as separate from others and the communities we affect
  • Capture the opportunity of sustainability and creating shared value (CSV) into how we do our business every day

What does this paradigm shift tell us?

Think not about brick buildings and procedure manuals. Think instead about relationships, innovation and creating possibilities never realized before. Think about developing an agile, diverse, flexible, engaged and empowered team. Think about reaching across borders and structures to find the best people and resources you need to capture opportunities.

If you’re open to change, ask yourself: What are the qualities of a collaborative leader? What would a true leader do? What do you need to let go of? What behavior will you change now?

Collaboration: Savage and SVI

At every level, organizational leaders are looking for innovative solutions to optimize skills, perspectives, teams and ways of working together. But they are unsuccessfully attempting to utilize the traditional divided structures they have previously relied on to address the increasingly challenging environment they operate in today. Let’s strive to see a collaborative culture as one that includes innovation, diversity, inclusivity, and analysis – all of which produce successful outcomes. Savage and SVI are working together to develop a revolutionary collaborative leadership assessment that addresses the concerns of yesterday’s way of operating and focuses on how to move toward a better, brighter future through more collaborative ways of working.

This assessment will help companies evolve and create better outcomes by targeting the development of skills, relationships, and success supported by:

  • Exploratory analyses and focus
  • A Collaborative Leadership 360 Assessment
  • Process design
  • Business, leadership and team development program and agreements
  • Collaborative Workbooks for teams and individuals to advance their awareness and re-create their relationships
  • Webinars, workshops, books (hardcover, ebook, and Audible), videos and podcasts (24 with 46 guests)
  • One-on-one and team coaching

Happy Labor Day! While you’re enjoying the sun, pool, and delicacies of the grill, remember to think about the labor movement from years ago. How will you continue to honor collaborative efforts for tomorrow’s workforce?

Stay tuned for more on this exciting new 360 assessment. In the meantime, check out more about Savage by visiting his website: His book Breakthrough to Yes: Unlocking the Possible within a Culture of Collaboration was published in March 2016 and is available at major bookstores internationally in hardcover, ebook, and Audible. Savage also hosts a business radio show/podcast (Breakthrough to Yes with Collaboration) with 145 guest experts.

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David B Savage

David B Savage