Bob Tobias, is Director of Public Sector Executive Education at American University and former president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 bargaining unit employees in 31 federal agencies and departments. He discusses the relative costs and rewards of collaborative versus adversarial relationships within organizations. He notes “If I assume that you’re out to get me and you assume that I’m out to get you and the only way that we can resolve this conflict is through arm wrestling then that’s the way we’re going to behave.”
In the Overland Profiles in Collaboration Interview series, we share first-hand accounts from union leaders, management executives and organizational change experts who have led, and lived, conflict-to-collaboration transformations.
When we can work together... we wind up with my fingerprints and your fingerprints on the final product. We're much more likely to embrace it-- to operate with it-- because we helped design it. That's collaboration," said Randy Babbitt, Southwest Airlines senior vice president of labor relations, retired FAA Administrator, and former president of the Airline Pilots Association
These leaders have disproved the myth that labor and management have to be adversaries by the very nature of their roles; that confrontation is what they do; that disagreeable is just how they are. Their stories are inspiring; their results impressive, their resolve unshakeable.