Culture is something we get asked about a lot, so I'm writing this series of posts on the core virtues we practise at Root and that make us who we are.

So far in this Culture Series I have spoken about virtues like ship things fast and #PublicByDefault, where we encourage movement, transparency and speed to get the job done. Without the right mindset, operating transparently and at speed can cost personal relationships and a considered work environment.

There are many benefits to assuming good intent in everyday interactions with our team and other stakeholders. Two critical outcomes from adopting this mindset are that we don’t read into things and we give people the benefit of the doubt.

“Assuming good intent creates a collaborative work environment where people are always willing to learn from, support and share with each other.” – Sizwe Mase, Account Management Team Lead at Root.

Don't read into things

It is a team effort to eliminate politics in our work at Root. We make an effort to be intentional about how we communicate. We make sure that we speak clearly, mean what we say and put everything on the table. There are no hidden agendas, hints or inferred meanings in our messages. This means that there is nothing to uncover in between the lines and so we never need to assume or infer anything not explicitly stated.

Because we are #PublicByDefault, we tend to be acutely deliberate and considerate with our words. With so many eyes on every message in the organisation, good communication is organically enforced. This also makes it easy to always assume good intent.

“I am a major, major fan of #PublicByDefault and Assume Good Intent. It improves the transparency and aligned intention of this team. Together they are incredibly powerful.” – Rebecca Lain, Solutions Engineer at Root.

We give people the benefit of the doubt

Good written communication is hard. Things tend to get lost in translation and nuances are missed. When projects are stressful, busy and hectic, knowing and reminding yourself that everyone is giving it their all and doing their best helps keep emotion out of getting the job done.

We are working to build an environment where people can be themselves and make decisions quickly. Assuming good intent allows people to communicate approaches, thinking and decisions without the fear of sounding silly, embarrassing themselves or simply getting it wrong. We all make mistakes, but we hardly make them intentionally.

Approaching situations with benefit of doubt lenses means that, when we don’t agree, we ask for more information or clarity before giving feedback and making suggestions. Everyone knows that intentions are good, we are all helping each other move forward and succeed in the mission. Putting ego to one side and never assuming hidden agendas is good for morale.

“Assuming good intent does wonders for reducing my anxiety. Knowing that my team will always assume I made the best call given the info I had at the time, even if it doesn't end up being the right call.” – Megan Van Strijp, Office & Experience Manager at Root

We’re looking for people to join our team

If our “Assume Good Intent” approach resonates with you, take a look at our careers page to see if we have a role open for you. If not, you can apply anyway by selecting “Don’t see a role for you?” and we’ll get back to you when something suitable opens up!