Sometimes planning can be the only thing worse than not planning.
Let's say you take the time to set some goals for your labor relations, make a strategy to achieve those goals, delegate outcomes and do everything the way you're supposed to. Then it all goes haywire when the labor side of the equation doesn't do what you thought they would, and now you don't know what to do with your beautiful plan, and you feel like you don't know what you're doing.
That's the problem with planning in this domain. In labor-management relations, you're always yoked to your partner on the other side of the table. You can't control what they do, you just have to deal with it. So you're torn between living in the hellish Groundhog Day world of constantly reacting or making plans that fall apart when the other side doesn't follow your script for them. This is when you start coloring your rapidly graying hair and going on blood pressure medication. Maybe you'll even put an aquarium in your office. That'll help some.
In labor-management relations, you need to plan, for sure. The problem is how to do it in a way that makes sense.
My approach is to work with your team to imagine the different futures that you might find yourself in, depending on your adversary's behavior. We will create mental models of those futures in detail, learning how to recognize which one you're moving toward and developing different maps for each one. Your maps will have different routes passing through different terrain, but all leading to your destination. Some of the routes may be broad, gently sloping, and paved, with rest stops along the way. Some might be narrow, rocky, and steep. But the earlier you start to imagine different futures, the better your chance of finding a path you like in a future you recognize.