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Enhancing Impact & Growth on Our Poland Engineering Team

By Karol Harabasz
Published on June 20, 2024

At Dropbox, fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement within our teams is a top priority. As leaders in engineering, we have a suite of tools and initiatives designed to create an environment where creativity and growth can thrive.

One of the key initiatives to foster innovation and help engineers grow is our 12-week rotation program. This allows employees to join other teams and provide fresh perspectives on ongoing projects. This not only broadens the engineers' exposure and enhances their skillsets, but also brings a fresh pair of eyes to projects, processes, and technical decisions, benefiting both the individual and the team.

Additionally, we organize an annual Hack Week—a dedicated time when employees can focus on new, creative ideas. This week-long event is a Dropbox tradition that encourages collaboration and experimentation with different concepts, and is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to come together, learn new skills, and maintain a growth mindset.

Virtual First empowers employees to adopt new ways of working and accelerate product innovation for our customers.

Employees also have the opportunity to learn how to thrive and work efficiently in a Virtual First environment. Virtual First empowers employees to adopt new ways of working and accelerate product innovation for our customers. Dropbox created a Virtual First Toolkit, which highlights strategies to excel in a remote setting, addressing various aspects such as Effectiveness, Teamwork, Communication, and Well-being. Furthermore, one of the most interesting Virtual First practices is being async by default; through which we promote autonomy and focus. We save meetings for the 3d’s (discussion, debate, and decision-making). Everything else we handle over chat, email, or a doc. We care about impact—not how many meetings we are in. 
Karol sits in front of his laptop.

The Future of Engineering Leadership

The shift towards remote work has opened up incredible opportunities for collaboration across different geographic locations. However, this also brings new challenges. The future of leadership in engineering involves integrating economic and business goals with a profound understanding of the human element—the needs, aspirations, and challenges faced by our team members.


In the past, leadership often focused heavily on skills and vision, deprioritizing the emotional aspects of team dynamics and corporate culture. Today, we recognize the importance of addressing the individual as a whole, as those who feel understood and supported can contribute far more effectively. Future leaders need to blend a focus on results with empathy, ensuring that team members feel heard and valued.


Micromanagement, especially in a remote environment, is ineffective. Trust, broad delegation, and accountability for deliverables rather than actions are crucial. We need leaders who can balance a visionary outlook with a realistic understanding of what must be achieved.


We are experiencing a profound shift in redefining "presence" at work within a world where asynchronous communication has become the norm. It is estimated globally that loneliness incurs an annual loss of $154 billion for employers due to absenteeism. In response, some organizations are innovating by creating specific roles such as the Chief Social Connectivity Officer (CSCO). This role is pivotal, not only in addressing the pervasive issue of loneliness, but also in enhancing flexibility, cultivating a positive culture, ensuring safety, and promoting wellness in a remote work environment.

At Dropbox, we’re transforming into a lab for distributed work.

Jacob Morgan, a researcher of transformational trends in management, employee experience, and work environments, observes that future leaders will transition from viewing the company as a factory to seeing it as a laboratory. This shift moves away from a linear, process-driven work environment towards a space dedicated to exploring new ideas, learning from mistakes, and challenging established norms. At Dropbox, we’re doing exactly this and transforming into a lab for distributed work. Future leadership in this dynamic context means being perpetually exposed to the learnings engendered by the dynamics of change. The imperative is to identify the challenges swiftly and learn from them effectively.

Strategies for Motivating and Inspiring the Team

At Dropbox, the inspiring environment we create naturally motivates our team. Our position as a leader in file sync, sharing, and digital content collaboration offers unique challenges that stimulate creativity and innovation.


One strategy I particularly value is rooted in the Blue Ocean Strategy by Prof. Chan Kim and Prof. Renée Mauborgne, professors of strategy at INSEAD and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in Fontainebleau, France. They emphasize the importance of procedural justice—engaging team members in decisions, providing clear explanations, and setting clear expectations. This approach ensures that everyone feels valued and understood, fostering voluntary cooperation and enhancing overall motivation.

  • Engagement: Involving individuals in decisions that affect them, soliciting their input, and encouraging idea exchange. This process shows respect for each team member's contributions and sharpens collective thinking.
  • Explanation: Clearly communicating the rationale behind decisions, fostering trust in management's intentions even if specific ideas aren't adopted.
  • Expectation Clarity: Once decisions are made, ensuring everyone understands the new rules, targets, and responsibilities, creating a transparent environment where everyone knows the standards by which they will be judged.

This framework ensures that every idea is given a chance and that the best ideas prevail, encouraging a culture of creativity and voluntary engagement.

Three Dropbox employees at a booth.

Building and Scaling Engineering Teams

Building and scaling engineering teams require a keen understanding of which team members are suited for specific stages of organizational development. This discernment comes from experience and a deep knowledge of each team member's talents and weaknesses.

Jim Collins, author, researcher, and consultant known for his work in the fields of business management, leadership, and corporate growth, has a unique concept of "First Who, Then What."  With constant changes around us, having the right people in the right roles is crucial. The right individuals will be self-motivated, adaptable, and deeply committed to the organization's values and objectives. By investing in the right people, we create a solid foundation for long-term success, enabling us to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing landscape.

Join Us

Fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement requires a multifaceted approach, combining empathy, and strategic team building. At Dropbox, we're committed to these principles, ensuring that our engineering teams in Poland and beyond are poised for success.

Learn more about working at Dropbox in Poland