A Faster Workstation
A Faster Workstation
Like many things, the Antimatter Principle appears easy to understand, and, to me, even easier to misunderstand.
What could be easier as a coherent and comprehensive set of guiding principles than “attend to folks’ needs”, right?
And as a starting point, seeing folks actively engaged in attending to folks’ needs, any needs, makes my happy.
One of my needs is to help folks realise more and more of their innate potential – to use the old cliche “to become all that they can be”. And so I’m happy when seeing folks getting progressively more and more out of the Antimatter Principle.
As an example, consider this scenario:
A developer says “I need a faster workstation”. Sounds very straightforward. In many cases this might trigger defensiveness and/or analysis on behalf of the person who has to write and/or sign the purchase order. Setting aside this can of worms for the moment, let’s suppose we can get past this and the developer gets their new, faster workstation. Joy! Of a sort.
Let’s run through this scenario again. But this time we’ll take just a little more time and effort in the hope of maybe uncovering some deeper needs.
A developer says “I need a faster workstation”. Someone hearing this – at least, someone who is tuned-in to attending to folks’ needs – might respond with a question like “I guess you’re feeling stressed about not getting stuff done?” (NB Empathising).
Let’s follow a possible evolution of this dialogue:
“How’s your workstation for speed at the moment?”
“Well, I’m working on a Clojure module and the REPL startup times are interrupting my train of thought.” (Observation)
“I could get much more done if my workstation was faster.”
“So, how do you feel about that?”
“Quite frustrated, actually. I know folks are waiting on this module, and I feel like I’m letting them down.” (Feelings)
“Sounds like you have a need that’s not getting met?
“Yes. I guess I have a need to be seen as reliable and diligent and competent, and sharing in the customer-focus values of my team.” (Needs)
“So, needs for appreciation and belonging?”
“Yes. Sounds plausible.”
“I’ll go and ask Leslie about getting a new workstation and see what’s possible.” (Refusable request)
Let’s assume the basic outcome remains the same – our developer gets their new, faster workstation.
In this case, they’re still likely to find joy in being able to work faster, or more productively, or whatever. But it’s also possible that they might find much more joy in the situation, realising via the earlier dialogue that their needs for appreciation and belonging are what’s really better in their life. Not to mention the joy accruing to the person who helped them through the dialogue.
How do you feel about this? Does the explanation meet any of your needs?
Words That Work In Business ~ Ike K. Lasater
Hi Bob. Good example of #antimatterprinciple and #nvc in action. I like that you’re not going “by the book” (trying to guess the others’s observation/feeling/need). Rosenberg would have probably used “So, you’re feeling frustrated?” instead of “So, how do you feel about that?”. I don’t feel comfortable pumping that much meaning by myself in a discussion.
I wonder if I may have your permission to quote this dialogue in my work. With attribution, of course.
I like to mix things up to prevent conversations feeling too stilted or formulaic.
And as for permission, please, go right ahead. 🙂