Strategic Leadership

People gathered for a strategic planning session

The Strategic Leadership Initiative focuses on labor movement leadership development, strategy design and organizational change in unions, professional associations and other worker organizations.

The initiative seeks to engage with leaders at the highest levels of labor and worker formations that are committed to organizational transformation and interested in innovative strategies. This encompasses four broad areas of work:

  • Education and training for leaders of unions and worker organizations – Highlights include our new signature project, the National Labor Leadership Initiative, and the Union Leadership Institute, has graduated over 250 leaders from every sector of the labor movement.
  • Leadership development connected to strategic programs within select worker organizations – We design and deliver union-specific training programs to help build clarity, consensus and capacity to implement new strategic initiatives.
  • Strategic planning and technical assistance – We work with labor organizations to assist in the development of strategic programs that address new challenges in a changing political and economic climate.
  • Research on leadership and strategy – Our associates and academic faculty undertake a broad range of research on issues related to leading and managing worker organizations, innovative organizing and bargaining strategies, leadership development, and other areas of interest to union and professional association leaders and scholars.

Our goal

We help leaders explore these kinds of key strategic questions:

  • How has the world changed?
  • What is the impact of those changes on the lives of workers you represent and serve?
  • What are the implications of those changes for your organization’s power and ability to represent workers?
  • What are the best strategic responses to the challenges your organization faces?
  • What capacities do you and your organization need in order to execute those new strategies?


Jeff Grabelsky,