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On the Brink with Andi Simon

Mar 11, 2019

Richard Sheridan shares how to build a workplace full of joy!

A little over a year ago, in January 2018, I had the pleasure, or should I say “joy,” of speaking with Richard Sheridan and several of his staff about the Joy he has infused into his business, Menlo Innovations. After leading a workshop on culture change at a conference hosted by Richard, I've grown very fond of him and his approach to life, not just business. He now has a new book out, Chief Joy Officer,” a powerful follow-up to his first book, “Joy, Inc.” In his book and in our podcast, Richard shares his approach to leadership. Definitely listen, learn and share!

First, Richard built a workplace full of joy

RichardSheridanRichard Sheridan's “Joy, Inc.” tells the story of how his tiny software company in Ann Arbor, Michigan achieved success and wide renown by embracing an offbeat culture and human-centered values. If you remember from our 2018 interview, Richard’s folks have no managers—they manage themselves. Team members, not HR executives, evaluate prospective employees and either endorse a hire or not.

Plus, they have Hi-Tech Anthropologists on staff who work with clients and programmers to ensure clients get what they want and programmers understand what clients really need. As corporate anthropologists, this is right in our wheelhouse, which is why we're thrilled to see companies applying the tools and methods of anthropology to solve their business needs.

Now, he wants to share with you his approach to leadership

Chief Joy OfficerIn Chief Joy Officer,” Richard now turns his attention from business culture to business leadership, drawing on his valuable experience running Menlo Innovations and consulting for other companies. This second book is a wise, provocative guide, illuminating how anyone can build leadership capacity for joy within their own organization. 

I remember well at our conference how Richard told the story of how decisions used to be made in business: ideas were sent up the chain of command and staff waited for someone to send back an answer. Far too often, it was a “no, we don’t do that here.” He set out to change that. And he did, joyously!

How you too can lead with joy

Chief Joy Officer offers sage, hard-won advice to any business leader or manager who yearns to make more of an impact on the lives of others, including these key principles: 

  • Self-understanding is the cornerstone for every virtue of leadership: Authenticity, trust, humility and optimism.
  • Good leaders make more leaders: Learn to judge your performance not on whether people are doing what they're told, but whether they're developing independent leadership capacity. 
  • Influencing up is just as important is influencing down: Encourage different thinking in those above you in your organization. 

You'll love listening to this podcast and thinking about your own leadership style

As I work with leaders all over the country, I'm finding that their biggest challenge is separating managing tasks and inspiring leadership. Is this you too? What is it you are trying to achieve and would you love advice on how to go about it?

Want to learn more about culture and leadership styles? Check out these podcasts and blogs:

Additional resources:

Download the 1-page synopsis of my book, "On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights" here