PBS lives by 28 Fundamentals, and they are the core of our culture. The 28 fundamentals are the foundation to Build Better Lives for our Team, for our Clients, and for our Community. The 28 Fundamentals describe the daily practices that make our unique culture come to life. They set us apart from other contractors and drive our extraordinary success. We call it: “The PBS Way”
Each week we cover a new Fundamental that one of the team members writes about how they relate to the Fundamental and gives their unique perspective. If we have a meeting with 3 or more team members, the meeting starts with a discussion of the fundamental of the week. It’s a part of our everyday.
This week Christina Hatch, Assistant Project Manager wrote about her perspective on Fundamental #16: Assume Positive Intent.
Work from the assumption that people are good, and that the intent behind their actions is positive. Set aside your own judgments and preconceived notions. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Picture this. You’re driving home. It’s season AND rush hour. You turn right on Golden Gate Parkway off of Livingston, heading to 75N to make your trek home. Almost immediately, the right lane is backed up – all taillights. Cars start pulling out to the middle and left lanes, passing all of the cars backed up trying to get to the ramp to the highway. You inch towards the ramp and it feels like it takes forever. Finally, you are at the light – only a couple of cars in front of you – you may actually get to the highway after all! Now, someone pulls up next to you in the center lane, with their blinker on to cut in front of you! The nerve! The audacity this person has to try and cut in front of you, after all of this time that you have been inching forward in this lane. No chance in heck you will let this happen! Get to the back of the line, pal!
Now picture this. That person is not from the area and just came from visiting a sick relative, was distracted and missed the signs for the highway, and now just needs a kind person to let them in.
Assuming positive intent for me is about awareness. Awareness of MY thoughts when that person pulls up next to me with their blinker on. Because I have been the person that has been in an area that I was not familiar with, and I needed someone’s kindness to let me in. BUT, I have also been the person that was running late, ran down the left lane, and passed ALL of those cars, only to cut off a car at the last minute to get on the highway faster. Well, no wonder why I’m not trusting their intent!
I honestly think this Fundamental is one of the most difficult to practice. Many of us are naturally pessimistic. That may be why the Fundamental starts with the word “Work”. It is work to train our brains to assume people’s intentions are good and positive. Are there bad people? Yes. Are there people who do things with bad intentions? Yes. But that is not where our focus needs to be. We need the awareness of paying attention to how we respond to situations with our thoughts. That is all we have control over.
“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different.” -Indra Nooyi