Joy in Work

Joy in Work

Deming asked “By what method?” and observed that “A goal without a method is nonsense”.

In my head, the Antimatter Principle is both a goal and a method. The goal – an environment where everyone is attending to their own and each other’s needs – is pursued by means of attending to folks’ needs.

Somebody recently asked about how to do that – just how to attend to folks’ needs? Are there any practices which might help the novice or the uninitiated to do that? Are there any explanations, books, courses, etc., which might help folks get a first foot on that ladder?

My choice since about two years ago has been Rosenberg’s four step Nonviolent Communication process. Others may have found other established, learnable approaches to attending to folks’ needs.

In any case, I suggest that however people go about attending to folks’ needs, the aim is to create a workplace environment where bonds of mutual giving create an engaging environment in which everyone finds joy in work.

– Bob

Further Reading

Joy, Inc. ~ Richard Sheridan
Nonviolent Communication ~ Marshall B. Rosenberg




  1. Bob, you seem to assume that just because you can tell people to practice the antimatter principle, it qualifies as a method.
    Would a different principle like, say, “optimise the whole” qualify as a method too?
    If not, what makes it different?
    Is it perhaps because you feel that the “how” in antimatter is self evident? If that is the case, I suggest it’s not.
    Substitute “folks” with, say, “customers”, and you’ll hopefully see what I mean.
    Hard as we try, we still develop plenty of software that nobody needs.

    In my mind, any principle act as a compass (the goal), including antimatter.
    A method gives me a concrete how. Principles and methods need each other, but are not the same thing.
    A method is generally more context-driven, tactic and transient. I may hire and fire different methods to accomplish the goal. NVC seems to be one of them.

    • Claudio,

      Thanks for your response.

      I’m not TELLING anyone to do anything.

      I take your point about “optimise the whole”. But I see that as slightly different, because for me there’s no immediately clear starting point, a.k.a. method.

      Fo me, in general, attenting to customers’ – or folks’ – needs seems to offer a starting point or overall approach: understand who those folks are, inquire into their needs. Attend to those.

      However, the question of “how” can elicit many replies, at various levels of abstraction. “How do I get to Edinburgh?” might elicit a number of answers, from “travel”, through “fly” and “catch the train”, through more detail “use the East Coat Mainline” to a very detailed set of steps from my front door to my destination (elided).

      “Attend to folks’ needs” to my mind is a “how” much like “travel” – obvious, but not devoid of all content (consider the alternatives excluded).

      – Bob

      • You seem to confirm the view that the “how” in antimatter is obvious and, as a consequence, you see the distinction from something like “optimise the whole”.

        Levels of abstraction play a role here. Allow me to slightly modify your example for clarity sake, as “get to” Edinburgh may be a tad confusing ( do “travel” and “get to” mean the same thing?).

        If I want to “be” in Edinburgh, I can’t say “by being there”. Or, if I want to “travel to Edinburg”, I can’t say “by means of traveling”, or can I?

        Let’s “Attend to folks’ needs”. How? “by attending to folks needs”.
        Do you see my problem? You may IMPLY different levels of abstractions, but honestly I can’t see it. Deliberate ambiguity is the realm of timeless principles, not methods.
        If I the perceive the same level of abstraction, no options are excluded… because none are created 🙂

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