Episode 127 | How to Maximize Joy in the Workplace

with Menlo Innovations’ Richard Sheridan

David Hassell interview David Hassell interview

AWE Episode Richard Sheridan

This week we dig into the Awesome Office archives to bring you one of our absolute favorite conversations.

From kid programmer in 1971 to Forbes cover story in 2003, Joy, Inc. author and Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan has never shied from challenges, opportunities, nor the limelight. His focus has always been around technology, but his passion is actually process, teamwork and organizational design, with one overarching goal: unlock the business value of Joy.

Strangely enough, it all began in 1967, when a ten year old Richard decided to surprise his parents by building a piece of furniture while they were away for the evening.

Hear his incredible journey to Menlo, and how culture became such a focus for Richard in this uncut interview.

Key Takeaways

  • Richard takes us back to one of the most formative experiences of his life, and explains why he credits this lesson as the inspiration behind Joy Inc.
  • Richard explains that, while he’s a technologist, his greatest innovation came in the way he thinks about people, organization design, and process.
  • Richard describes why we typically lose our sense of joy as we transition from childhood to adulthood, and why that’s detrimental to our businesses and our lives.
  • Richard opines why most managers fall into the trap of mimicking their predecessors, and how that has perpetuated harmful organizational cultures and management practices.
  • Richard explains how playfulness and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive, and how the TV show M.A.S.H. actually demonstrated that levity can exist in the midst of stressful or important work.
  • Richard tells us the utterly unique way that Menlonians schedule all-staff meetings, and how the company is able to conduct these meetings in under 13 minutes.
  • Richard explains why ear buds are forbidden at Menlo, and why he believes chatter helps fuel creativity.
  • Richard describes the Menlo hiring process, which actually involves no resumes and no interview questions whatsoever.
  • Richard tells us why he had to first rethink his own role in the organization before he could start to think about organizational change.
  • Richard shares the insight that his eight year old daughter gave him regarding his own leadership style.
  • Richard explains why low attrition isn’t necessarily the sign of a good company culture, and how some of the worst cultures he’s seen are ones in which no one ever leaves.
  • Richard explains how boomerang employees can be a source of fresh ideas and innovation, and why so many companies miss out on them.
  • Richard describes the tours he gives at Menlo, and how this daily story telling benefits himself and his team.
  • Richard tells us why he believes the most important breakthroughs won’t be technological, but will be based on the expanding concept of what it means to be human.
  • Richard shares why the biggest people-oriented crisis facing businesses today is a crisis of human energy – and why this represents a huge opportunity for organizations.
  • Finally, Richard enters the ring and takes on…the Minute of Magic.


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