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

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.

We use Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s book, Extreme Ownership, as a foundation for how we think about this concept day-to-day. As ex navy seals, they explore what it means to successfully lead a team in life and death situations and explain how successful leadership, in a business context, is not so different.

When we talk about Extreme Ownership at Root, it comes down to adopting three key heuristics:

  1. We always lead
  2. We delegate missions, not tasks
  3. We own our mistakes

We always lead

In the right environment, anyone can lead and take ownership. We take action when required, not when prompted, we push for excellence by asking questions and suggesting improvements, and we lend support to move things forward. Being in a leadership position is not required to lead.

“The best leaders don't just take responsibility for their job. They take Extreme Ownership of everything that impacts their mission.” – Extreme Ownership

To cultivate an enabling environment, we believe that learning should be prioritised, information must be publicly accessible and a culture of continuous, fast feedback must be encouraged.

We delegate missions, not tasks

The starting point of any mission or project is clearly communicating why we’re working towards a particular goal and defining what that goal is (read our Start with Why culture series blog post for more insights into this virtue).

When we delegate missions, clearly communicating the why and the what, instead of tasks (the how), we give people the context they need to decide their own how. This also means they have the flexibility to change course if and when needed.

Root is made up of some incredible minds and big talents – I trust that if they have a clear objective and access to all the information they need, they’ll make decisions that benefit the team and keep us moving in the right direction. Giving the responsibility to subject matter experts, instead of planning top down, leads to innovative ideas and gives everyone a sense of ownership and control.

We own our mistakes

“For leaders, the humility to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them is essential to success.” – Extreme Ownership

Because every team member has a clear view of the mission and its progress, we’re all responsible for pointing out potential mishaps. So when something goes wrong, we don’t point fingers or throw one another under the bus. We take responsibility and learn from our mistakes.

We use the 5-whys process as a form of root-cause-analysis. We focus on the processes that broke, not the people that made the mistake. We always assume good intent. Learn more about doing effective 5-whys here on Kanbanize.

We’re looking for awesome people to join our team

If our learning virtue resonates with you, 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!