Through ORG-facilitated dialogue sessions and meetings, senior management and labor leaders began taking the first diffcult steps to set aside past differences; to address intractable conflict; to overcome deep-seated distrust; and to explore whether — and how — they could move toward more collaborative and productive relations. But it wasn’t until the leaders began focusing on identifying and discussing their interests, rather than on being positional and arguing for the rightness of pre-determined solutions, that they were able to really hear and understand one another’s perspectives.
Quickly they came to understand that the Interest-Based Leadership™ skills they were cultivating at the top of the organization were the same skills they needed labor and management leaders at every level to learn and to practice. This would facilitate the behavior change necessary to build a culture where working together became the norm rather than the exception.
The challenge, then, was how to create interest-based leadership skills across an organization characterized by iron-clad functional silos; hundreds of facilities each with its own sub-culture; dozens of work groups and job classifications; and a decades-long history of adversarial labor-management relations.