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

Work Life Harmony

The notion of work-life-balance is nonsense. It implies that our work lives and personal lives are disjointed and function in constant opposition to each other. It was crafted as a protective counterbalance for people oppressed by their employers. The two are not siloed. You can not prevent your work life from invading your personal life any more than you can stop your personal life from pushing against your work life. They are connected. You are connected. I prefer the notion of work-life-harmony. In an ideal setting, they collaborate rather than compete. Work should be an outlet for us to express our personality and creativity. It should be the catalyst for our best work, not a barrier to our natural desires. This allows us to find opportunities for overlap and pursue alignment. Rather than focusing on keeping score, we focus on bringing our best self. Actionable Insights Practically speaking, our full…

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

Making Big Decisions

The discipline of big decision making As we’re presented with important decisions, it’s easy to procrastinate or become immobilized. Over time, the stakes get higher and our decisions affect more people. To withstand the pressure of major decisions and keep moving forward, I’ve outlined habits I revert back to when big decisions arise. Rest Before leaving corporate life to raise our kids, my wife was wrestling with a decision for months. At the time, she was not sleeping well. The workload was causing her to neglect her health too. Recognizing the need for a change though feeling too overwhelmed to decide, we scheduled a day or so away at the spa. No work, agenda, or responsibilities she was free to rest up, relax, and recover. Before returning home less than 48 hours later, she knew what she had to do. Don’t make big decisions when you’re off your game. Being clear…

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

Battling Indifference within Service Work

A few years ago, we were working on a logo design project for a cities parks and recreation department. While putting together three examples, we decided to add a fourth alternative. Unlike the first three, this fourth option was dated and clearly inferior. It was an anchor to make the others look even better. Our hearts sunk when they selected and became unwavering about option four.   Polar Notion, like many creative teams, focuses on bringing ideas to life. Other people’s ideas. We have a talented team that has seen hundreds of projects. This experience allows us to track trends across the industry and dial in our intuition. Our team pours days, weeks, and months into the thoughtful execution of these projects.   From time to time, clients ignore our expertise. Whether direction shifts or minds change, our efforts are rendered unnecessary. It can be defeating and discouraging.   Eventually,…

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

Workplace Diversity

At New Story’s recent quarterly leadership summit, Alexandria Lafci (a cofounder and friend) presented on the value of diversity in the workplace. With patience and empathy, she shared in depth research and permitted an endless stream of questions. Reflecting on her thoughtful presentation, it felt like something worth sharing. We should be understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, and sexual orientations, as well as differences in personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases. That’s not to imply most people are outwardly aggressive or openly alienate those who are different. In many cases however, it’s our unconscious biases that wreak the most havoc. Awareness is the first step toward making a change. Speaking Intelligently It was clarifying to see diversity in two categories: inherent diversity and acquired diversity. Inherent diversity includes Demographic characteristics like race, sex, and age. Acquired diversity includes factors such as education, experience,…

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

Better Before Bigger

Pretend for a moment you are the proud owner of a coffee company. The lifeblood of most organizations today, your selling productivity and joy one pound at a time. Your company sells bags of coffee for $10. It costs you $9.00 to produce, leaving $1.00 in profit. To summarize, that’s $1 of profit for every bag you sell. If you wanted to make $2, sell two bags. For $3, three bags. Obvious, right? Simple Answers vs Simple Solutions For most managers and business owners, the answer feels simple. To increase cash flow, increase sales. To generate more money, sell more of a product or service. This is a widely accepted practice and it can work. Imagine however, you took a different approach. Instead of seeing sales as the first step to growth, what if you opted for efficiency. Increase the value of the revenue you already have. Rather of trying…

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