The Forgotten Chemistry of Management

What do I mean by the title? Do not worry, as I shall be giving a few examples below for your consideration.

My exchange of comments on sugar solutions with the brainy CityVP Manjit resulted in a detour leading to the writing of this buzz. I know Manjit is writing a few buzzes on sugar solutions and this one is a diversion of our discussions.

The first example is dissolving sugar in water. Try dissolving powdered sugar, granular sugar, and sugar cubes. No matter what you can only, add the same amount of sugar to a determined amount of water. Yes, powdered sugar dissolves faster than sugar cubes because it has more surface areas to contact with water, but the final amount that you can dissolve is the same.

The managerial lesson from this experiment is that no matter how much effort we may do, we have to be cautious that we may only reduce the time required to reach our objectives, but not change the result. Changing shapes of the same effort may reduce time, but shall not affect the result.

There is another lesson from the above experiment. If we try to dissolve more sugar at the same temperature, it shall be fruitless. We may dissolve more sugar by increasing the water temperature. Same with employees, we need to motivate them and increase their eagerness to the work they are doing to “dissolve” more work assignments. It is the same with your customers. If they are saturated, they shall not buy any more from a business. However, by finding a way to increase the warmth of our offers or the warmth by which we treat customers then they might do more business with us. Simple facts, but unfortunately they are often than not forgotten.

I would say that motivating employees and customers are like increasing their “solubility in the waters of our offers.

~Ali Anani, PhD

We may dissolve gases in sugar solutions by applying pressure, but never with solids. If you have employees with high volatility and are inflammable like gases then you may apply pressure to “dissolve” them. The question is do you want more of them? Solid quality employees do not dissolve more in the sugary waters of your business. To the opposite, you may lose them. Solid employees need motivation and not pressure to dissolve more.

Employees are not all the same. Some employees dissolve readily in the organization. Others do not and precipitate. Still, other employees get together and form colloids that scatter light. I wish to introduce a new definition of shadow teams and groups. They are in fact the colloids of any organization and they scatter the light of information from others to keep their “shadow Power”. Beware of colloidal groups. Have a great purpose that makes colloid groups less effective.

Some managers want to “freeze” a few employees or add them to teams. Well, the team might be functioning well. Adding salt to its waters shall lower its freezing point. This is freezing point depression. When we add salt to water the water molecules freeze, they get organized. However, because the salt is where the water molecules are more difficult to meet and freeze. We increased disorder by adding salt to a sugary solution.

One of my best-acclaimed researches based itself on avoiding the above pitfall. People used to grind waste tires and grind the rubbery part. They added this ground rubber to the asphalt and aggregate to improve the performance of roads and increase their resilience. The cost of mixing three ingredients instead of two and other reasons proved the efforts were hopeless. Unfortunately, many researchers keep their “stirring” in the same direction. My approach was different. I used the ground rubber of tires first to cover the aggregate using a simple chemical approach. The rubberized aggregate became organic and was very easy to mix with asphalt being organic too. Now, mixing asphalt and the rubberized aggregate proved easy, economic, and compatible.

It amazes me how often we forget simple facts in managing our works. It is time to wake up.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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