The Emulsifier

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It's almost impossible to mix oil and water together in an enduring form without an emulsifier.

  • This is a managerial method for dealing with (and learning from) persistent intransigence between two colleagues.
  • When extreme antipathy or enmity threatens an important professional relationship a third person may help.
    • It is said that 'opposite' cognitive types/roles (e.g. creatives and organisers) are frequently antagonistic to one another.
  • It is important to welcome and value the differences in these individuals, rather than seeing it as a human problem.
  • Both types of thinking are needed by the organisation, and the boundary between the two may hide unseen opportunities.
  • 1. Select an intermediary facilitator (or 'emulsifier').
    • Ideally, s/he must get on better with each of the two colleagues than each gets on with one another.
    • Ideally, s/he must be capable of understanding and respecting the challenges and values inherent in their roles.
    • Ideally, s/he must be an excellent languager.
  • 2. Seat the three in an equilateral triangle
    • This should be as small as possible
    • However, it should not be so small that the proximity of partners might inflame the situation.
  • 3. Brief the Emulsifier to listen attentively to each, and to make notes about the virtues of their respective standpoints.
  • 4. Ensure that the Emulsifier registers any possible lessons/latent benefits from across all three relations i.e. :
    • A) Creative to Organiser
    • B) Creative to Emulsifier
    • C) Organiser to Emulsifier

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