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

Valuing What Matters

In 2017, we bag pushing harder to remove the barriers that prevent our team from doing great work. We are creating a transparent work environment from project management, to educating clients, and beyond. The goal is to do remarkable work and inspire others to live remarkable lives.

As part of this push, team member compensation races to the forefront. Compensation is an area riddled with confusion and chaos. To combat the tension, we introduced transparent salaries. With that, we’ve been working through clearly defined expectations for each level and per role. After much deliberation and great advise, we identified 8 key areas.

Each role without our business has requirements around Culture, Evangelism, Values, Experience, Leadership, Client Interactions, Industry Involvement, and Domain Knowledge.

Culture

Our team comes first. We spend most of our lives at work, so building a place we all enjoy is of primary importance. Contributing to the culture is everyones job.

In the book The One Thing, author Gary Keller introduces the value in finding ‘the one thing, such by doing everything else is either easier or not necessary’. For our business, culture is that thing. When the team enjoys the work and those they do it with, everything else improves.

Evangelism

Without going as far as saying sales is everyone’s job, our brand in the marketplace should be on everyone’s mind. It’s through consistent interactions that ideas spread.

Our leadership team is continually striving to facility an environment worth of sharing with others.

Values

Company values belong deep within the heart and mind of the organization. Rather than allowing them to live and die on posters around the office, we should all be growing in and championing what makes us unique.

We pursue excellence, not perfection.

We create remarkable experiences.

We are effectively human.

We go boldly forward.

Experience

Real world experience is vital. As we cross train our team members to be well rounded, personal growth still takes time. Tenure is often overstated but it has a place among professionals. Rather than measuring time, it’s helpful to think in terms of experiences.

As leaders, it’s our responsibility to make sure the time spent is value-filled. For young engineers in particular, it’s normal to keep handing them low-hanging bugs and features. Unless they’re given the opportunity to practice higher level skills however, we shouldn’t be surprised when they burn out or look elsewhere.

Leadership

Our team should be setting the bar and guiding others forward. More than a title, everyone’s role has elements of leadership baked in. The responsibility of a craftsman is to pass down their expertise, not merely excel in their own pursuits.

The more our team learns, the great the expectation to lead. All four of our values embody this with our use of the word ‘we’ throughout. We pursue excellence, not perfection. We create remarkable experiences. We are effectively human. We go boldly forward. We don’t work alone and we bring others along with us.

Client Facing Skills

In a service-based business, producing remarkable experience for clients is everyones responsibility. Whether demoing to a client demos, fulfilling work, or helping someone think through strategic direction, everyone should have a growing level of care and confidence in client interactions.

This aligns with a company value: we are effectively human. We should be able to translate our work and communicate it effectively to clients who have commissioned it.

Industry Involvement

We should not be operating in isolation. Shaping the community is a group effort. Whether through conferences, meetups, or mentoring it’s likely our early days are as participants but overtime we should step into greater responsibilities.

Creating remarkable experiences shouldn’t end when the work day is over. When we take ownership of the world around us, it’s an attitude that comes home with us and should influence our industry.

Knowledge

In a fast-changing industry, leveling up our knowledge and understanding is mandatory. As technology rises and falls, our ability to adapt is what sets us apart.

When we share about going boldly forward, expanding our knowledge is implied within our forward momentum. We are not settling for what we have always done or who we were back then. We look to what’s next.


With clarity into what matters most at each level of the organization, it creates clarity that team members can understand and explore for themselves. Rather than limiting their growth or perpetuating inequality in the workplace, there is a shared accountability. Team members are responsible for their growth and the company is responsible for compensating them fairly for it.