December 15, 2019 Duet

Do all NVC Collaborations Need to Move Really Slowly to be Effective?

Nonviolent Communication helps work feel better. Add Dynamic Collaboration to really get things moving.

“If everyone knew Nonviolent Communication, we’d get a lot more done around here!” 

That was what I found myself thinking throughout my work day when I first started learning NVC.

The transformative power of Nonviolent Communication

I was a 7th grade teacher and I thought that my problems at work would be solved if my colleagues also knew NVC.

It was such a deep conviction that I quit my coveted and stable job and walked away from a loving and robust community to go in search of a work environment where I could experience it.

Feeling the power restricted by long meetings and need for consensus

Years later, after teaching NVC for several years and giving my all to several different NVC-based collaborations, I finally had to acknowledge that it wasn’t true.

When everyone knew NVC, it still didn’t mean we could collaborate effectively to get work done.

We encountered many of the same problems I had encountered in previous organizations.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

The power-holders were not the most equipped to make important decisions and yet – because they were in positions of authority – they did.

It took forever to get everyone on board for decisions. Or it would take forever to repair hastily made decisions that didn’t involve everyone.

We often had long meetings that didn’t get much done.

Don’t get me wrong: learning Nonviolent Communication can make a MASSIVE difference in any kind of work environment. It can be transformative for the relationships between the people in the organization.

It’s just that NVC in itself doesn’t tell you how to do the *work part* effectively and efficiently.

Effective, efficient, and still NVC

What I wanted was a blueprint for an organization that embedded Nonviolent Communication principles in the structure of how the work was organized and helped the work get done effectively.

And even though I didn’t find it inside of NVC, after a bit more digging, I did find it!

In February of 2016 I found my way into the back of a coffee shop in Seattle’s Capitol Hill for a simulation of a meeting.

The meeting used dynamic collaboration practices, in this case, a Holacracy tactical meeting.

Unleashing the power through Dynamic Collaboration

Just minutes into the simulation, I was popping out of my seat.

None of the 12 people in the room were NVC practitioners, but the work was getting done in a way that respected everyone, didn’t give people the chance to power over others, and was faster than any other meeting I had ever seen.

And it seemed so incredibly simple and intuitive that I almost couldn’t believe I hadn’t encountered it before.

We got through something like 15 agenda items in 25 minutes. …Without feeling at all rushed or breathless.

Dynamic Collaboration had what I was looking for: to be able to work collaboratively using the same set of assumptions as NVC, but to do it in record speed.

I dashed up to the two presenters at the end and, to make a long story short… it’s 2.5 years later and I’m now the third purpose agent at Duet!

Working day-to-day using dynamically collaborative systems has spoiled me for any other kind of collaboration. It’s like going back to riding a tricycle when you’ve become accustomed to a sleek road bike.

"Dynamic Collaboration had what I was looking for: to be able to work collaboratively using the same set of assumptions as NVC, but to do it in record speed. "

Amanda Blaine has been helping people collaborate more effectively with Compassionate or Nonviolent Communication since 2011.