At Univest, we highly value our culture and truly believe it drives performance. We also realize that culture isn’t something that just happens – it has to be defined and cultivated. We firmly believe that an engaged workforce who follows a common set of fundamental behaviors creates success. The Univest Way consists of 18 fundamentals that describe the daily principles and practices that make our five core values come to life and truly serves as the foundation of our culture.
One of my favorite of the fundamentals is “Assume Positive Intent.” Which the Univest Way defines as:
“Believe in the goodness of our fellow men and women. Work from the assumption that people are good, fair and honest, and that the intent behind their actions is positive. Have compassion and give people the benefit of the doubt.”
Assuming positive intent is clearly a powerful cultural fundamental. However, to get good at it, you must first recognize your automatic tendency to see negative intentions when something impacts you negatively, and then you must deliberately practice looking for positive intent in others.
For example, we all make mistakes. However, we often hold a double standard and judge other people’s mistakes differently than we judge our own. Being blind to this double standard is detrimental to effective team work and will negatively impact the ability to have a healthy culture. When we make mistakes, we often blame the circumstances of the situation rather than take responsibility for the mistake and when others make mistakes we often assume their intent was negative.
When you look for positive intent, you give people the benefit of the doubt and you give yourself the chance to learn the details of the situation. You may be surprised how often you learn something that you hadn’t expected. Once you learn the details, you may get to see that the team member was indeed committed, competent, and on top of the situation. There have been many instances in my career when I’ve turned a negative into something positive.
Assuming positive intent makes it easier for the other person to engage in a productive conversation rather than getting defensive, and you will be able to work together more effectively to deal with the situation. The results will often surprise you.
By incorporating this fundamental into our daily business practices at Univest, we are cultivating a high-performing culture that drives performance and encourages our employees to work together to serve our customers and communities while remaining focused on carrying out our core values.
What is your company’s culture and engagement strategy? The employers who embrace the power of assuming positive intent and have strategies in place to communicate their culture and promote employee engagement will be in the best position going forward.
An experienced employee benefits consulting firm like the team at Univest Insurance can identify which strategies are best for your company and create a roadmap to implementing them successfully. To have a conversation to help you determine the best approach, please contact us at 610.966.1315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Insurance products offered through Univest Insurance, Inc. are obligations of the issuing insurance companies, not obligations or deposits of or guaranteed by any bank and are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States.