Culture is something we get asked about a lot, so I started writing this series of posts on the core virtues we practise at Root and what makes us who we are
Our culture is something that we all work on building and maintaining together. We believe that to make it something real means being disciplined and methodical in our practice. We don’t have a poster with our values stuck up on the wall. We don’t believe in printed-out words telling us what to do. Instead, our culture stems from how we behave as a team on a daily basis.
In this series, I unpacked each of the concrete virtues that Root uses to actively create a stimulating, healthy environment where we can do our best work and thrive as individuals. This final blog post is a summary of our virtues and a resource that will link you to anything that you might want to dive into a bit deeper.
- Start with Why
- Growing by Learning
- Move Fast and Ship Things
- Extreme Ownership
- Assume Good Intent
- Keep it Simple
- Don't Reinvent the Wheel
Start with 'Why'
It’s important for any person in the organisation to understand the ‘why’ behind any task they do. At Root, our overarching ‘why’ is to bring insurance to the internet-age and to make it more relevant and accessible to more people. To make this possible, we have to ensure that we’re all aligned and that this purpose is at the centre of our everyday actions.
We do this by building our ‘why’ into our daily workflows.
Our #PublicByDefault virtue massively simplifies access to information and reduces resolution time for issues that arise. How we do it:
- Comms: We have specific Slack channels for every team, every client, every project and every product that we work on at Root. Each team member can join, consume and contribute to whichever channels they choose. We actively discourage DMs, unless the chat is sensitive or confidential.
- Knowledge: Our calendars are visible to everyone in the company and all documentation, except sensitive data, is open for anyone to view, irrespective of team.
- Partners: Partners with whom we’re working on projects have a shared channel via the Slack Connected Workspace setup. All discussions with the client are posted on this single, shared channel. This centralised source of information is available to both our clients’ teams, as well as the entire internal team at Root. I go into more detail on this point in our How we use Slack to collaborate with partners blog post.
Growing by learning
Learning is a cornerstone of success everywhere. It has no time limit or age restriction. There's no progress without it. Here are a few practical ways we keep learning at the heart of everything we do here at Root:
- We use 5-whys sessions as a root-cause-analysis approach to optimise how we work when we make mistakes.
- We encourage reading in the team. Take a look at Root’s Reading List.
- We create Virtual learning spaces within Slack.
Move fast and ship things
Frequency of iteration matters. To drive change in an industry defined by legacy, we have to constantly try new things to deliver solutions as quickly as possible. Making rapid progress - one step at a time - requires an enabling environment, one which can handle the pace. The principles we use in our daily workflows to nurture a fast paced environment are:
- Document everything
- Share early to get feedback early
- Iterate at least four times before shipping to the customer
At Root, you’re the owner of your mission, no matter your role. This means taking responsibility for everything that impacts achievement of your mission goals, not just the individual tasks that you’re directly responsible for. Taking Extreme Ownership means that your success is defined by the mission’s success or failure in achieving defined objectives.
When we talk about Extreme Ownership at Root, it comes down to adopting three key heuristics:
- We always lead
- We delegate missions, not tasks
- We own our mistakes
Assume good intent
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.
Keep it simple
Choosing simplicity over complexity always works. Although we recognise the temptation of complex systems, problem statements and solutions, our Keep it Simple virtue helps us avoid distraction and stay focused on what matters. One pagers and staying focused on the why of everything we do helps us keep it simple at Root.
Don't reinvent the wheel
Whether we’re building new tech, choosing people management software or setting terms with our clients, we avoid reinventing the wheel. Some of the techniques and habits that ensure we don’t spend too much time and effort figuring out things others have already solved include:
- Solving problems using first principle thinking
- Always research first
- Document everything
- Ask for feedback
We’re looking for awesome people to join our team
If our Culture Series 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!