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

Leadership Action Plan : Preparing for Tough Economic Times

Bain & Company released a great checklist for companies and executive teams to plan for weathering COVID-19. You can reference the actual article, but the format of the checklist is less than ideal. Had it not been shared directly from a trusted friend, I likely would have blown right past it. This is not an attempt to plagiarize their ideas. Instead, I’m hoping to provide a more executable format so organizations actually benefit from the insights. People Implement the best-known guidelines available for both employees and customers; over-investMonitor global health guidelines and other companies—and continue to fine tuneOver-communicate with full transparencyAssist epidemic-limiting initiatives in any way possible P&L (Profit and Loss) Outline macro scenarios by market, translate into revenue-decline and P&L scenarios:Units, revenue, costsCapex (capital expenses), working capital, cash/liquidity13-week, four-quarter outlookBuild extreme downside scenarios; this has the potential to be a 100-year eventOutline major operational actions Do-now hand-brake actions vs.…

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

Tools that Support a Remote Work Culture

There are hundreds of tools that make remote work more effective. In the spirit of simplicity, I’ve broken down the Top Five. While not a comprehensive list, it focuses on those resources uniquely valuable to remote workforces. Company MessagingVideo CallsVideo RecordingDigital White-boardDocument Management Company Messaging : Slack A single messaging tool reduces the time wasted hunting through email, text, and DMs. We use Slack. Not only is Slack a great tool for internal teams, but it’s helpful for clients and outside relationships as well. It gets communication out of the email inbox and organized in appropriate channels. Their paid plan also allows for shared channels. Rather than forwards and BCCs, public channels make it easy for team members to work in plain sight. Here is a glimpse of how our conversation style has evolved to almost completely public communication since 2016. Notice the drop in private channels and spike in…

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

Growth Camp : A Week Long Internal Sales Bootcamp

For months, the team at New Story has been interviewing potential sales professionals. The roles were live 2-3x longer than other positions and we had a fraction of the applicants. Finding qualified sales professionals and fundraisers is hard. We sought advice from dozens of friends and mentors and received similar feedback. It was discouraging and prompted a moment of pause. Rather than proceeding forward with a few top candidates, we opted to run a week long bootcamp with our existing team. (The brainchild of Sarah Lee, New Story’s Chief Growth Officer) We devised a curriculum, brought in speakers, enlisted coaches from the community, and pushed the team to think differently about their roles. For context, we generate money for three things at New Story: Builders. A small group of donors who fund our operating expenses and research/development efforts. There are 3 team members focused on identifying and supporting Builders.Architects. A…

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

Expectations about Introductions

There are few things I value more than well placed introductions among friends and community members. For years, I’ve run a business were referrals were our lifeblood, so the importance stands out. Intros expand our networks and foster unique moments of serendipity. Despite their value, I want to make sure to honor the time of those I connect. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that I have or could make an intro that includes you. The following outlines my expectations: BCC Me Please I don’t need to be dialed in for the entire conversation. Adding me as a BCC on the first reply gives me confidence that the intro was received and my handoff is complete. This snippet is common among many of my friends and appreciated on many levels:”Thanks Morgan, moving you to BCC to spare your inbox.” Followup and Followthrough If you meet with someone, followup. If you…

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

12 Questions Team Members Ask Themselves

Team members are consistently asking themselves a few, simple questions about their work. They may verbalize them, but other times it’s an unspoken script in their head. I recently came across a helpful list (from ‘Predictable Revenue’ by Aaron Ross). These resonate with feedback I’ve heard from team members and problems we seen flare up. Do I know what is expected of me at work?Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for the work?Does my supervisor or somebody at work seem to care about me as a person?Is there someone at work who encourages my development?At work, do you my opinions seem to count?Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?Are…

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

Improving the Inbox

Managing the Email Inbox is like training a lion. There are clearly people who have mastered it, but even they are never more than 1 misstep away from getting their arm bitten off. When email feels under control, no one is more than a long weekend or extended vacation away from complete chaos. Here are some of my habits to improve the email inbox: Add an FYI to the email signature. It describes how I handle email and why. Here is an example from my New Story signature: Filter purchase receipts and cal invites to separate folders. This removes 100+ emails from view per week. They’re out of site, but still in arms reach.Funnel all email accounts into a single source. I use Polymail for this. A single source for emails allows them to be batched and executed once or twice each day.Set followup reminders. Followup reminders put emails back…

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

2019 Reading List (70 Books)

Training for an ultramarathon, I’ve had almost 200 extra hours to listen on audible in 2019. The time increase led to nearly doubled the size of my 2018 Reading List. This year, I made a deliberate attempt to focus on diversity and inclusion. Growing up with tremendous privilege soaked deep into my lived experience. These wins, compounded by a culture plagued by institutional racism, have produced blindspots that will not go away on their own. As white male business owner, I’m a member of an exclusive class. It’s useless to apologize for my advantages, but I can leverage what I have to improve the lives of others. If we have any hope of a better world, it must start from within. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – MLK I also experimented with more fiction. It didn’t have…

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

Meeting Location Preferences

In planning to off board key tasks to an executive assistant, I pushed myself to articulate my preferences. Along with calendar preferences, these are my meeting location preferences around Atlanta. Factors I consider when settling on an ideal meeting location: Timing. The venue should fit the duration of the meeting. For example, coffee shops are great for 30 minute meetings. Restaurants are better for longer meetings. In both instances, the staff and environment is accustomed to cadence and there is rarely a conflict of ‘overstaying your welcome’.Accessibility. It needs to be easy to get in and out of the building, while also giving me access to a variety of driving directions. For example, I prefer not to take meets in Buckhead but if need to, Atlanta Tech Village is right off 400. There is also a parking deck with two entrances and I can choose to cut through to the…

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

Calendar Preferences

The process of preparing for a virtual assistant has been almost as helpful as onboarding the actual person. I spent time documenting personal preferences around scheduling and calendar events. combine car rides with phone callseach day should has at least one 2 hour block to get work done. It should be represented on the calendargroup meetings based on geography. For example, if I’m on the east side of the city ideally other east-side meetings occur on that day, and around that timegroup meetings based on time. For example, 3 consecutive 30 minute meetings are better than 3 meetings with 15/30 minute gap betweenprioritize sales meetings. Example, a 30 minute coffee with a sales prospect should take priority over a meeting from a cold, inbound requestprovide a heads up for geographic anomalies. For example, if I need to be in Johns Creek at 9am (which is rare) drawing my attention a…

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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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