Assuming Positive Intent Within Your Plant

Sometimes...most of the time...all of the time, it’s your people that make the biggest impact on your plant’s success. For over 75 years, we have supplied bulk material handling facilities with products and services to make them cleaner, safer, and more productive. But maybe we can provide more.

Maybe some of the lessons we have learned as we've grown can be shared. We’re not a perfect organization - not even on our best day - but along with our innovation in products, we continue to innovate our organization, our people, and our work family.

The Best Results Begin with the Best People

People are the biggest impact on productivity

One thing that is clear is that we strive to be good people. We strive to be a good company. We care for each other, care for our families, and care for our communities. It certainly seems that our leadership team believes that good people deliver good results. This isn’t just a catch phrase on signs scattered throughout our campus. We see it every day at Martin. We take it home with us and bring it back the next day. To a new person, it may seem strange but to us, it’s not. As we focus more and more on it, it becomes closer and closer to second nature. There are particular values our organizations has, certain ‘why’ statements describing the behavior we hold in high regard. One of the particular sayings that stands out to me is “Assume Positive Intent."

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Assume Positive Intent

Now more than ever, I think it is important to assume positive intent. When I think about assuming positive intent, I think about judgement vs. behavior and how judging the intent of someone’s behaviors can be so damaging. I find myself spending too much time evaluating or judging someone’s intentions. Why must I make assumptions on why someone is doing what they are doing? Why do I sometimes not assume positive intent?

We see it all the time, but I think it has increased in the past year (judging why people are out and about or partaking in certain activities/events). I think as we are under more stress and are anxious of the future, it is harder to assume positive intent. This past year has certainly been stressful.

It seems like politicians have taken every single opportunity to judge actions of their political foes. The media certainly judges behavior of everyone they can. Heck, there are networks dedicated to creating content that does nothing but place judgement on any subject they can. We sure see a lot of this on social media! It sometimes feels like before anyone does anything, we already have a judgement ready for them regardless of their behavior. It’s like we can take anyone's behavior and find a way to judge their intentions, and that’s not assuming positive intent.

Asssume Positive Intent of coworkers and employees

How To Do Better

How can we remedy this? I’m not sure if we can. I know I don't have the solution. I will say this, I will work harder at assuming positive intent. I can control how much judgement I place on my peer’s behavior’s. I can work harder to ensure that I hold up my end of our company's slogan “assume positive intent”. I expect that I will fail from time to time, but I can do better, we all can do better.

The next time you see someone demonstrating a behavior that you disagree with, try to assume positive intent. Try to assume there is a good reason why they are doing what they are doing. Try not to judge. I bet you will find it very difficult but I also bet you can do better than you did in the past.