Reconciling Two Stubborn Scientists

by | Feb 6, 2022

How would you feel if God enabled you to use simple relational skills you learned at church to solve a million dollar problem for your employer?

That’s exactly what a woman named Diane did when she stepped in to resolve an employee conflict that had stumped her company’s president and human resources professionals.

The joy she felt afterwards had nothing to do with the praise she received from her boss. Her joy came from the fact that her application of relational wisdom opened the door for her to share her faith with so many of the people she worked with every day.

Here is the story she shared with me.

A while ago, I learned about two scientists in my company who were going to be terminated because of their unwilling­ness to work together. These men had collaborated on many projects with great success and had been very close personally. But they’d had a falling out a while ago and were moved to different departments.

A couple of weeks ago a multimillion dollar project was offered to the company. It would require these two men to work together. Our president asked them to submit a joint proposal, but both refused. He said they would lose their jobs if they couldn’t overcome their differences. They wouldn’t budge, even after our human resources folks tried to get them to cooperate.

When I heard about the problem, I had a sense that I could help them. But since neither the president nor our HR folks could budge them, I didn’t see any way I could help. Besides, I’m a computer specialist, not a counselor. This was way out of my league.

But I’d just studied your material at my church, and I sensed this was an opportunity to put the principles into action. So I finally asked our president if I could try to help. To my surprise he said, “Go ahead; what have we got to lose?”

I knew each of the men personally since I’d worked on their computers. (As you put it in your teaching, I had a “relational passport” with each of them.) So when I asked if I could talk with them about the situation, they agreed.

Through individual conversations I gained an insight into the cause of their falling out. A previous supervisor had been jealous of their close relationship. As a result he deliberately fed each man’s pride and planted critical ideas about the other. This is what had driven them apart.

When the three of us met to talk, the tension between them was tangible. I started by applying the wisdom of Philippians  4:8-9 by encouraging them to recall all the success of their joint efforts over the years. They softened just a bit but would still not look at each other.

I then began to help them see how their supervisor had manipulated them. I asked questions about what the supervisor had said and about what each of them had done and felt. The hurt began to spill over, but for the first time they looked each other in the eye.

As I gently showed how the supervisor had come between them, they continued to soften. They began to talk directly with each other as they finally saw what had happened. As they became aware of the emotions and assumptions that had led to their false judgments, they expressed heart-felt regret for the way they had believed the worst about each other without personally discussing their tensions.

As their attitudes softened, I guided them through 7-A confessions and the four promises of forgiveness. At the end of the meeting, they actually embraced. They soon informed our company president that they were ready to work together again. As you can imagine, our boss was surprised and thrilled.

Within a week, they submitted a joint proposal for the big contract. When it was accepted, they once again combined their special talents to complete the required research and new designs. As others in our company heard about their reconciliation, they approached me to ask about it. I’ve had more opportunities to share the principles of peacemaking, relational wisdom and my faith than I could have ever imagined!

And it didn’t stop there. Shortly after our meeting, one of the scientists learned that his son was getting a divorce. The father shared with his son and daughter-in-law the principles he had learned in our meetings and sent them a copy of The Peacemaker. I just found out that couple has dropped the divorce and begun attending a local church.

You never know how far the ripples will go from a single pebble tossed into the water, but you have to be willing to toss the pebble! Thanks for showing me how to restore broken relationships!”

~ Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  1. What do you think gave Diane the courage and confidence to offer her help even though other people with supposedly better training failed to resolve this problem?
  2. Why do you think these two stubborn scientists were willing to meet with Diane and listen to her advice?
  3. What were the key things Diane did that made her approach successful?
  4. Would you like to be able to help friends and coworkers resolve conflictsd and restore relationships? You can begin developing these skills today by taking advantage of the courses that are available through the RW Academy

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2022 Ken Sande

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