CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Becoming Invaluable

Founding a business can become all consuming. Early on, entrepreneurship is marked by packed schedules, late nights, and long weeks. All the time spent isn’t created equal. We can get swept into putting out fires or responding to pressing needs, but it’s worth slowing down to figure out where time is best spent. Understanding Value Imagine I offered you a Macbook Pro, one of apples leading computers, for just $1,000. Assuming it’s not stolen, that is a great deal. A $2,000 dollar computer for half off. What a bargain. Now, imagine I offered you that same computer for $10,000. Would you buy it? Of course not, that’s absurd. I just mentioned that it is worth $2,000. To buy a $2,000 computer for $10,000 would be spending 5x more than it’s worth. Ultimately, this is a lesson of Cost vs. Value. Simple Exercise For 2 minutes, write down the tasks you…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Where to Start with Business Processes

Identifying Opportunity to Improve Avoiding the urge to merely work through a compiled list of processes, it’s worthwhile to seek out the most impactful opportunities. Within a business, the highest impact comes from complexity, frequency, delivering value, and costs. Complex In the late 1930s, airlines began including a preflight checklist for pilots and crew. With hundreds of potential pitfalls, the checklist simplifies the mental load before each flight. This allows flight crews to save time, turnaround flights faster, and ultimately provide a safer experience for passengers. Every business has areas that would benefit from simplicity. In our engineering services, we have a series of tasks an engineer must complete before writing the first line of code. This pre-programming checklist is continually refined but it reduces errors, wasted effort, and confusion. Frequent When a fast food franchise is producing thousands of hamburgers a day, an extra few seconds on each burger…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Business Processes Checklist

The following list includes the foundational systems and processes consistent across almost any organization. When an organization feels haphazard or chaotic, it’s likely the team is feeling the weight of unclear expectations. Each process can be further extrapolated to one or more roles within the organization. Each roles should also include an understanding of who participates, who is accountable for completion, and who has final approval. It’s unlikely that a team could sit down and map out all these processes at once. Their creation should be prioritized based on the highest need within the organization. * Denotes processes that will likely vary for given teams or departments Team Members [ ] Team Member Schedules [ ] Team Member Milestones [ ] Team Member Culture Improvement [ ] Team Member Professional Improvement [ ] Team Member Feedback [ ] Team Member Prospecting* [ ] Team Member Hiring* [ ] Team Member…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Moonshots

At New Story, we make time every few months for an exercise we call ‘Moonshots’. The term comes from the Apollo 11 spaceflight, which landed the first human on the moon in 1969*. At the time, the idea was truly audacious. As a team, we get together and dream big. Usually after dinner and over drinks, we throw out big, wild ideas. They’re unlikely, crazy ideas. While the origin of our 3D Printer experiment came out of one of these sessions, the point is not to be practical. It’s about dreaming, not planning. Controlled Chaos Some suggestions get a laugh. Others make use uncomfortable. A few have a way of lingering, but most ideas die on the spot.  The point of moonshot is to spark inspiration. Once an idea is put out into the world, the next person can build on top of it. The ideas evolve. We want to create a place…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

New Year Ritual : Change Your Passwords (plus checklist)

In recent years, we’ve seen massive data breaches come across the headlines. Unfortunately, these reports represent a small percentage of the actual infractions. While our data is only as secure as the people entrusted with storing it, passwords are the first line of defense. Taking an hour or so once a year to update your most commonly used accounts (or as many as you can remember) could safeguard your information. If you’ve been waiting for the right excuse to start using a password manager like 1Password or LastPass, a systematic password refresh would be great option. You could generate large, highly secure passwords and store them in a safe place. Below is a quick checklist of common passwords you’ll likely want to reset. There are also great tools to help configure more secure passwords. Personal Accounts [ ] Banking Institutions [ ] Credit Cards [ ] Insurance Provider [ ]…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Purpose Statement Framework

In the summer of 2018, I began feeling an increased tension around decision making. Growing up, we learn to decide between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. As adults, there is more gray area and less objectivity. The right answer is rarely obvious. Our choices are less polarized. If we are fortunate, we have the opportunity to choose between multiple great options too. Without a clear winner, this can lead to indecision or a lack of directed effort. My intention in pursuing a personal purpose statement was simple. Create a standard to measure future decisions. More than a job description, it’s a declaration of intent and focus. We each have unique skills, interests, and passions. A well crafted purpose statement provides a framework for aligning each decision. The process for me took months of discussion, reflection, and experimentation. Looking back, I’ve refined the process into a Framework for others to use. This article…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

2018 Annual Report

The act of reflection continues to be the most impactful habit I’ve developed over the years. I’m continually amazed by how much growth can be seen in some areas of life while others seem to shrivel. I’ve broken down my Annual Report into the areas that matter most. Family Polar Notion New Story Personal Special Mentions Also, pardon my typos. I had a lot of ground to cover and my usually proofreading process was too much mental energy. Family Our family has seen a lot of changes in 2018. From our immediate family, to extended family, it’s been marked by births, moves, and big announcements. Welcome Rowan! Our little red-headed bundle of smiles was born on May 21, 2018. She LOVES her big sister. Major milestones at the moment include sitting up on her own, eating real food, and a veracious smile. Smyrna Despite some early resistance, we made the…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Annual Reflection Framework

Another year is gone in a blink. Over half a million minutes of life lived. Taking time reflect on the status of key areas can help ensure the past was well spent and the future is more impactful. Borrowing from the techniques of others, the most prominent being the 4 Burner Theory*, I put together an exercise for myself to frame this valuable reflection. I put aside about 3 hours and worked through each section. Thoughts, ideas, and insights began pouring out. The goal is not a resulting task list for the next year. The purpose is to frame yourself around what matters most. Each year should involve more of what matters and less of what doesn’t. It’s about thoughtful action, not perfection. Also, I will not be publishing my own reflections. The ratings and insights are (and should be) convicting and highly personal. It’s unrealistic to think a public audience…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Effective Leadership Teams

Over the last few years, I’ve watched first-hand as two teams transition out of reactive decision making and into more proactive choices. In both cases, defined and organized leadership teams are at the center. Regularly confronting organizational patterns and trends becomes a gateway to improved performance. It also provides increased alignment around company vision, values, and behaviors. Beyond traditional c-level leadership, interdisciplinary leadership teams can also be highly impactful. Take Business Operations for instance. Operations is one part of the organization’s needs, but a growing company will eventually require more specialization.  Selecting key members within operations will allow for increased buy-in and deeper focus are the vital part of the organization. In a recent session with our Operations team at Polar Notion, we distilled the form and function into the following concepts. The Purpose We should explore current operational pains, in order to produce lasting organizational gains. The discussion time…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Big Meetings and Better Choices

There are few things more costly than large, group meetings. Whether we realize it or not, they are the greatest expense of a business. More than salaries, benefits, or a physical building. More than utilities, inventory, benefits, or a physical building. They may be needed, but it’s a tall order to make sure they are worth it. They disrupt the day, occupy limited time, and become bottlenecks to productivity. If Deep Work is where we experience a state of flow and professional achievement, large meetings usually impede that progress. Here are some strategies to build better meetings. Choose smaller blocks. There are plenty of cases where large meetings are needed. Whose says they have to be long? Many businesses default to one hour block. Unfortunately, stuff expands to the space you give it. How different might a meeting flow if everyone knew there was only 30 minutes? 15 minutes? There is…

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