You can WATCH this conversation on YouTubeSubscribe!

From kid programmer in 1971 to Forbes cover story in 2003, Joy, Inc. author Richard Sheridan (U-M grad BS Computer Science ’80, MS Computer Engineering ’82) has never shied from challenges, opportunities nor the limelight. While his focus has always been around technology, his passion is actually process, teamwork and organizational design, with one inordinately popular goal: the Business Value of Joy! Sheridan is an avid reader and historian, and his software design and development team at Menlo Innovations didn’t invent a new culture but copied an old one … Edison’s Menlo Park New Jersey lab. Henry Ford’s recreation of the Menlo Park Lab in Greenfield Village was a childhood inspiration!

Some call it agile, some call it lean … Sheridan and his team call it joyful. And it produces results, business and otherwise. Five Inc. magazine revenue growth awards invites to the White House, speaking engagements around the nation, numerous articles and culture awards and so much interest they are doing a tour a day of the Menlo Software Factory™.


  • Gandhi: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
  • The guiding principles:
    • Create meaningful, sustainable, positive, human impact
    • Always demonstrate integrity and authenticity
    • Act in a way that expresses care, hope, love, and joy!
  • Sustaining excellence:
    • Sustained effort
    • Need purpose and meaning
    • Provide delight for others
    • Underlying driving force
  • Advice to daughters – Never stop pursuing higher ideals
  • When Rich became in charge, he said, “no more fear-based leadership.”
  • Vision process:
    • Write it down
    • Should be grand/inspirational
    • Be rooted in realism
    • Communicate it
  • 0 Bosses — Rich’s company has no supervisors or annual performance reviews. They hire each other and fire each other, and promote each other. Personnel decisions are made by the team as a whole, not by an HR department. They hire for “kindergarten skills first and technical skills second.”  They do “extreme interviews.” A focus on “Make your partner look good.”
  • Joy, Inc. told the story of how his tiny software company in Ann Arbor, Michigan achieved success and renown by embracing offbeat culture and human-centered values. In Chief Joy Officer, he turns his attention from culture to leadership and draws on his experience running Menlo and consulting elsewhere to offer a wise, provocative guide on how anyone can build leadership capacity for joy within their own organization.c
  • 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 as influencing down: how to encourage different thinking in those above you in your organizations.


More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #303General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership

Episode #413: Brook Cupps – Tough, Passionate, Unified, & Thankful