Monthly Archives: November 2013

For The Rational Folks


I’m very comfortable with the Antimatter Principle. It came to me unbidden yet well-formed, I’ve seen it work in practice, in a number of different setting over nearly twenty years, and it just speaks to me on an intuitive level. I guess you might say I have faith in it.

I can appreciate that other folks may have issues. For example, with its relevance to them. Or with an apparent lack of realism – by which I mean it might seem unrealistic for it to gain much traction, or find favour, in the world as we believe it to be today, especially in the world of business and organisations with their prevailing Analytic mindsets.

Or maybe it just seems a tad too, well, fluffy. Soft. Californian.


But the Antimatter Principle is grounded in rationality and logical reasoning, too.

If we want to create a situation where we can contribute fully to our work, to realise most if not all of our innate potential, how might we go about that? Might it not serve us to understand people, human nature and its mores, the realities of sociology, how the brain works, and so on?

Aside: The Greeks, since ancient times, have had a word for this desirable situation: Eudaimonia.

Marshall Rosenberg is only one of many who have long studied these topics, and come to some understanding of the ideas upon which this eudaimonic situation might be founded.

“I would like us to create peace at three levels and have each of us to know how to do it. First, within ourselves. That is to know how we can be peaceful with ourselves when we’re less than perfect, for example. How we can learn from our limitations without blaming and punishing our self. If we can’t do that, I’m not too optimistic how we’re going to relate peacefully out in the world. Second, between people. Nonviolent Communication training shows people how to create peace within themselves and at the same time how to create connections with other people that allows compassionate giving to take place naturally. And third, in our social systems. To look out at the structures that we’ve created, the governmental structures and other structures, and to look at whether they support peaceful connections between us and if not, to transform those structures.”

~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

Specifically, Nonviolent Communication and other related fields – such as Positive Psychology – posit that we flourish in situations where we can relate to each other as human (social) beings. Where we can live in harmony with our emotions. Where we have autonomy, the opportunity to develop mastery, and share a common purpose. (See also: Seligman’s PERMA).

At the Heart

Above all, I believe, folks enjoy, more than anything else, opportunities to willingly contribute to each other’s wellbeing. The Antimatter Principle takes that belief and places it at the heart of our working together. At the heart of creating a healthy and flourishing workplace. At the heart of creating that shining castle on the hill: the eudaimonic situation.

And at the heart of intrinsic motivation.

How better to motivate ourselves than to harness the most compelling, positive principle driving the human condition, to help us in our journey?

Of course, history is replete with examples of people creating situations in which it’s inevitable that folks are NOT be able to flourish, grow, relate, be human, and become all they can be. But knowing otherwise, why would we want to continue doing that?

– Bob

Further Reading

Being Brilliant Every Single Day – Dr. Alan Watkins (video)

Looking After Each Other


Sometimes I mention to someone or other that the concept of management is past its sell-by date. I invite them to consider the implications for organisations when managers no longer prowl the cubes.

One question that often comes up is “who will look after folks’ career development?” As if managers typically do this. Well, maybe nominally they do. But I’ve never seen it happen.

In most organisations, folks who have some kind of explicit focus on their own career / professional / personal development take it on themselves to make things happen.

Bringing together the ideas of fellowship and the Antimatter Principle, I suggest that it might be beneficial for all concerned if folks attend to folks’ needs regarding career development – just as much as for other needs.

That’s not to say everyone will fall naturally into this way of being. Maybe some training or coaching might prove helpful. Ditto, dialogue and discussion. Some folks will put more into it than others, and some will get more out of it than others.

Talking of coaching, some suggest that great managers underscore their usefulness by coaching their people. Again, I’ve found this a very rare phenomenon. Coaching does seem to be increasing in popularity, albeit through the specialist coach, rather than managers. Again, folks ask “Who will do the coaching if there are no managers?” And again, I suggest that, apart from some pump-priming with specialist coaches (and maybe some periodic refreshers) , why can we not have everyone, potentially, attend to folks’ coaching needs?

I was working in one major global integrator some years ago. They had invested in training a cadre of some eighty or so volunteers in coaching skills (on top of their day jobs). The sad thing in that case was the extremely limited uptake from people at large, who seemed to not want coaching even when offered.

In so many ways, we CAN look after each other, given the collective will and explicit policies to enable it to happen. In other words, given a new frame.

– Bob

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