Think Bigger: What We Believe

How We Define Metovians

WHAT WE BELIEVE

We hire and promote people who demonstrate the following behaviors and skills.

Judgement

We make wise decisions despite ambiguity. We identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms. We think strategically, and articulate what we are, and are not, trying to do. We separate what must be done now, and what can be improved later.

Communication

We listen well, instead of reacting fast, so we can better understand. We are concise and articulate in speech and writing. We treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with us. We maintain calm poise in stressful situations.

Impact

We accomplish amazing amounts of important work. We demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely upon us. We focus on great results rather than on process. We exhibit bias-to-action, and avoid analysis-paralysis.

Curiosity

We learn rapidly and eagerly. We seek to understand our strategy, market, customers, and suppliers. We are broadly knowledgeable about business, technology and entertainment. We contribute effectively outside of our specialties.

Innovation

We re-conceptualize issues to discover practical solutions to hard problems. We challenge prevailing assumptions when warranted, and suggest better approaches. We create new ideas that prove useful. We keep ourselves nimble by minimizing complexity and finding time to simplify.

Courage

We say what we think even if it is controversial. We make tough decisions without agonizing. We take smart risks. We question actions inconsistent with our values.

Passion

We inspire others with our thirst for excellence. We care intensely about Metova’s success. We celebrate wins. We are tenacious.

Honesty

We are known for candor and directness. We are non-political when we disagree with others. We only say things about fellow employees we would say to their face. We are quick to admit mistakes.

Selflessness

We seek what is best for Metova, rather than best for ourself or our team. We are ego-less when searching for the best ideas. We make time to help colleagues. We share information openly and proactively.

Loyalty Is Good

  • Loyalty is good as a stabilizer
  • People who have been stars for us, and hit a bad patch, get a near term pass because we think they are likely to become stars for us again
  • We want the same: if Metova hits a temporary bad patch, we want people to stick with us
  • But unlimited loyalty to a shrinking firm, or to an ineffective employee, is not what we are about

Hard Work Is Not Relevant

  • We don’t measure people by how many hours they work or how much they are in the office
  • We do care about accomplishing great work
  • Sustained B-level performance, despite “A for effort”, generates a pink slip, with respect
  • Sustained A-level performance, despite minimal effort, is rewarded with more responsibility and great pay

Brilliant Jerks

  • Some companies tolerate them
  • For us, cost to effective teamwork is too high
  • Diverse styles are fine – as long as the person embodies the 9 values

Our High Performance Culture Is 
Not Right for Everyone

Many people love our culture, and stay a long time

  • They thrive on excellence and candor and change
  • They would be disappointed if given a pink slip, but would part with mutual warmth and respect

Some people, however, value job security and stability over performance, and don’t like our culture

  • They feel fearful at Metova
  • They are sometimes bitter if let go, and feel that we are political place to work

We’re getting better at attracting the former, and helping the latter realize we’re not right for them.

Our model is to increase 
employee freedom as we grow,
 rather than limit it, 
to continue to attract and nourish innovative people, 
so that we have better chance of 
sustained success. With the right people, instead of a culture of process adherence, we have a culture of creativity and self-discipline, freedom and responsibility.

Responsible People 
THRIVE on freedom, 
and are WORTHY of freedom.

The Rare Responsible Person:

  • Is self motivating
  • Is self aware
  • Is self disciplined
  • Is self improving
  • Acts like a leader
  • Doesn’t wait to be told what to do
  • Picks up the trash lying on the floor

The best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people.


Context, not Control

Provide the insight and understanding to enable sound decisions.

Context (to be embraced):

  • Strategy
  • Metrics
  • Assumptions
  • Objectives
  • Clearly-defined roles
  • Knowledge of the stakes
  • Transparency around decision-making

Control (to be avoided):

  • Top-down decision-making
  • Management approval
  • Committees
  • Valuing planning and process more than results

Good Context

Link to company/functional goals

Relative priority (how important/how time sensitive)

–  Critical (needs to happen now)
–  Nice to have (when you can get to it)

Level of precision & refinement

–  No errors (credit card handling, etc…), or…
–  Pretty good / can correct errors (website), or…
–  Rough (experimental)

Key stakeholders

Key metrics / definition of success


Exceptions to “Context, not Control”

Control can be important in emergency (no time to take long-term capacity-building view)

Control can be important when someone is still learning their area (it takes time to pick up the necessary context)

Control can be important when you have the wrong person in a role (temporarily, no doubt)


The effectiveness of our highly aligned, loosely coupled teamwork 
depends on 
high performance people 
and good context. Our goal is to be:


Big

Flexible

Fast

Highly Aligned

  • Strategy and goals are clear, specific, broadly understood
  • Team interactions focused on strategy and goals, rather than tactics
  • Requires large investment in management time to be transparent and articulate and perceptive

Loosely Coupled

  • Minimal cross-functional meetings except to get aligned on goals and strategy
  • Trust between groups on tactics without previewing/approving each one – so groups can move fast
  • Leaders reaching out proactively for ad-hoc coordination and perspective as appropriate
  • Occasional post-mortems on tactics necessary to increase alignment

We Pay Top of Market

One outstanding employee gets more done and costs less than two adequate employees. We endeavor to have only outstanding employees. We therefore pay top of market for each outstanding person. Regardless of company performance, we will still pay you the market rate.

This Takes Great Judgement

We have no fixed budgets for compensation, and do not consider your existing salary when determining your value. Compensation is not dependent on Metova’s success, either. Your compensation may move up quickly if there is great demand for your skills. It may stay flat over time if the market has not changed. Regardless, we pay top of market for you.

What is Top of Market?

  • Paying you more than anyone else likely would
  • Paying you as much as your replacement would cost
  • Paying you what we would pay to keep you if you had a higher offer from elsewhere

How Does a Person Know Their Market Value?

While the traditional model leads people to believe a big raise is indicative of their past performance, it does not take into account outside factors, such as what other companies are paying. Your individual success, though, does influence your market value, so your performance remains a big factor in determining compensation.

It is a healthy idea, not a traitorous one, to understand what other companies would pay you. One way to do this is to interview with other firms. Another is to speak to peers at other companies. Be mindful of confidential company information when speaking to other companies, and discuss your compensation findings with your manager.

Work Here Because You Want to Work Here

Metova does not believe in vesting or deferred compensation. We do not own you, so we do not try to own you through vesting or deferred compensation. Your compensation is always fully vested.

Your manager is responsible for creating a great place to work, and that includes paying top of market. You are free to leave us at any time, without penalty, but most people stay. You should stay because you are passionate about your work and well paid, not because of a deferred compensation system.

Doesn’t Have To Be For Life

In some time periods, in some groups, there will be lots of opportunity and growth at Metova. Some people, through both luck and talent, will have extraordinary career growth.

In some times, in some groups, there may not be enough growth opportunity for everyone. In which case we should celebrate someone leaving Metova for a bigger job that we didn’t have available to offer them (if that is what the person prefers).

Three Necessary Conditions 
for Promotion:

JOB HAS TO BE BIG ENOUGH

We might have an incredible manager of something, but we don’t need a director of it because job isn’t big enough. If the incredible manager left, we would replace with a manager, not with a director.

PERSON HAS TO BE A SUPERSTAR IN CURRENT ROLE

Could get the next level job here if applying from outside and we knew their talents well. Could get the next level job at peer firm that knew their talents well.

PERSON IS AN EXTRAORDINARY ROLE MODEL OF OUR CULTURE

Timing

If a manager would promote to prevent an employee from leaving, the manager should promote now instead of waiting.

Development

We develop people by giving them the opportunity to develop themselves, by surrounding them with stunning colleagues and giving them big challenges to work on.

Self Improvement

We want people to manage 
their own career growth, 
and not rely on a corporation 
for “planning” their careers.