Chief Joy Officer Book Summary By Richard Sheridan

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In Chief Joy Officer (2018), author Richard Sheridan masterfully outlines the blueprint of creating a culture at work that inspires joy.

He shares his career insights and contrasting stories, taking the readers through an exciting journey to achieving meaningful results in the workplace.

By clearly providing guideposts for building a company with a purpose and crafting workplaces employees can love, he demonstrates that people have the power to create positive changes that ripple throughout the organization.

Chief Joy Officer Book

Book Name: Chief Joy Officer (How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear)

Author(s): Richard Sheridan

Rating: 4.7/5

Reading Time: 21 Minutes

Categories: Corporate Culture

Author Bio

Richard Sheridan is the founder of Menlo Innovations, a software design and consulting firm located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

His company has won numerous accolades for its excellent workplace culture and has been visited by people from all over the world hoping to learn the secrets of their successes.

He is also the author of the highly popular bestselling book called Joy, Inc.

which delves deeper into why it has been so successful.

His expertise combined with his passion for creating great workplaces makes him a leader in his field; thus establishing him as an experienced source on how to run a sustainable organization

How To Lead With Joy: A Guide To Cultivating Authentic, Fearless Leadership At Work


If you’re a manager, one of your main goals should be to instill joy in the workplace.

It’s something Richard Sheridan learned all too well when he was managing Interface Systems and had to drag himself into work every day.

He sought out a better way and eventually found it in Menlo Innovations, the software firm he founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He wanted an organization where people could find true happiness, and boy did he deliver!

In these sections of his book, Chief Joy Officer, Sheridan reveals how leaders can cultivate joy in their business by disregarding fear, hierarchy and bureaucracy; replacing them with creativity and personal authenticity.

With the right values approaches and systems, you too can bring joy into your workplace.

You will learn about why humility is so important for leadership and how to help those that go through job interviews feel accepted by encouraging them to care for each other.

Implement these lessons from Chiefs Joy Officer and you’ll be sure to create an environment where people are genuinely happy with their work!

How True Authenticity And Humility Can Lead To A Happier Workplace

Joyful leaders understand that being authentic and humble can help to foster a positive work environment.

They know that this approach helps their team and colleagues embrace authenticity themselves and encourages them to be comfortable expressing their true emotions in the workplace or allowing those around them to do so.

The book Chief Joy Officer by Nolan Williams examines how showing one’s authentic self and demonstrating humility can have profound effects in a business setting.

The author references an exercise involving masks, where teenagers are encouraged to write what they feel inside on the mask (e.g.

“scared”), but outside of it show something more acceptable (e.g., “I’m hanging in there).

Doing so allows these teenagers to comfort each other with their shared experiences and leaves a supportive space for deeper understanding.

This same idea can be translated into professional spaces; rather than hiding their vulnerabilities, leaders should accept them as an important part of who they are – inside and out – for all members of the organization to benefit from; even if it seems counterintuitive at first!

Furthermore, creating an atmosphere of humility – i.e., considering others and encouraging genuine appreciation for all kinds of work -instills trust between leaders and employees while simultaneously promoting better behavior throughout the business, thus leading to increased joy at work!

Embrace Optimism: Take Off Your Black Hat And Put On Your Yellow One To Move Forward

Motivated and successful leaders are often characterized by an optimism that pushes them to take the necessary risks to achieve their goals.

In his book “Six Thinking Hats”, Edward de Bono makes it clear that leaders should be unafraid of considering different approaches to a problem and not get bogged down in looking at every potential failure.

He calls this the “yellow hat” approach, an optimistic outlook that is oriented towards success from the very beginning which can provide much-needed optimism and engagement for a team.

Taking inspiration from this concept, leaders across various industries have let go of their offices space, embrace face-to-face conversations and foster team spirit in order to build a more joyful culture.

An example such leader is Ron Sail, who tore down the walls in the GE Global Services office space and garnered admiration from other executives at GE who wished to emulate him.

These changes showed just how much trust he had in his team and allowed them to understand that he believed success was an achievable goal – leading them to become highly engaged employees!

The message here is clear: joy is infectious when practiced by a confident leader who puts their faith into the capabilities of their team, rather than just staying within their own comfort zone.

Leading Through Service: How To Create A Culture Centered Around Serving Others


The author of Chief Joy Officer learned a valuable lesson in 1968 when he assembled his mom’s new bookshelf and used it to surprise them.

His dad was speechless and his mom cried, showing that true joy comes from serving others.

When building an organization, the goal should be to create a culture focused on serving people and making sure that everyone experiences joy in their work.

This can be done through implementing the mentality of the three bricklayers, with each person understanding how their individual roles help contribute to the big picture.

Even if they’re carrying out mundane tasks like cleaning tables, they should do it with great care and try to provide small acts of kindness and care.

The manager of a McDonald’s branch understood this well and instilled this ethos into his business – little touches such as ensuring customers get napkins or wishing them pleasant flights made all the difference in a competitive retail environment.

What he proved is that a solid culture built on service is key to having a successful organization where everyone finds joy in their work – proving once again that serving others offers the greatest joy!

Leaders Over Bosses: Why Organizations That Prioritize Leadership See More Success

Research has demonstrated that organizations that prioritize leaders over bosses are far more effective, productive, and innovative than those which rely on boss-oriented hierarchies.

A leader influences and motivates, whereas a boss typically demands adherence.

This means an organization with a leadership culture is far more likely to experiment.

There’s no need for formal permission in such an environment, since the whole team is empowered to make decisions – an approach taken by Menlo Innovations who conduct their interviews, performance reviews and other key decisions as a team, not individual bosses.

What’s more, embracing this approach leads to fewer mistakes thanks to teams working together to correct any issues or draw lessons from them.

Rather than deferring to just one or two people at the top, everybody within the organization can recognize and take responsibility when things go wrong meaning problems can be solved faster.

Systems Thinking And Positive Rewards Encourage Organizational Joy

Creating a joyful culture within an organization can be challenging.

But one effective way to do this is to focus on systems – the processes and workflows that guide day-to-day operations.

System thinkers recognize that, beyond a lack of effort or bad luck, flawed systems are often the culprits behind negative outcomes like failed sales pitches or harsh customer complaints.

This underscores the importance of creating simple, efficient systems that help make employees and teams more productive, motivated and – importantly – joyful.

To this end, consider providing incentives for the positive behaviors you want to see in your organization.

For example, Menlo’s time tracking system enables them to accurately predict the amount of time needed for future projects, reducing overtime and resulting fatigue while also helping foster collaboration among team members.

Dominique Coster of an automotive supplier found success when he changed his policies to reward team achievement rather than individual achievement with plaques presented by senior management flown in from Tokyo.

By doing this, he was able to foster a more collaborative atmosphere across his team.

How To Create An Ethos Of Caring In Your Organization: An Example From Menlo

Your Organization

Building a team that truly cares about one another is an incredibly important part of any organization.

At Menlo, they take this seriously when it comes to their recruitment process.

During their first interview, potential recruits are given a wide variety of tasks and instructed to work together to complete them.

This instills the ethos of helping one another and ensures that candidates know from the beginning that Menlo encourages cooperation and not competition between colleagues.

The caring doesn’t stop within recruitment.

The culture of caring is strongly reinforced in the everyday goings-on at Menlo.

For example, when one employee was having problems with punctuality due to issues at home, rather than firing him, a colleague stepped in and offered to pick up him up every morning and make sure he got to work on time.

This teammate didn’t have to offer this gesture of kindness but they did because they genuinely cared about the well-being of others.

Another example involves Anna – the author’s assistant who coordinates his life – who refused additional requests for speaking engagements in December so that he could spend some time with his family (which she knew was important).

Caring for each other is essential for building teams that are successful on all levels; but it’s also just flat out nice!

Sharing knowledge and experience should always be encouraged as well since these are critical for developing an understanding of our own team members, which can ultimately lead us closer towards achieving success!

Building A Learning Culture Is Key To Business Resilience And Joy

Organizations that embrace learning together are more likely to survive and also be more joyful.

Just look at the example of Borders Books, founded in 1971, employed 20,000 people at its peak, but was put out of business by Amazon in 2011 due to their lack of adapting to the new internet-dominated world.

Peter Senge from MIT points out that this is why leaders should be active and continual learners – it’s the only sure-fire way for businesses to remain competitive.

Building a culture of reading within your organization is just one way to do this while creating an environment of excitement and imagination.

Creating a free library is one practical step you can take; if certain books go missing or are always unavailable, then consider buying additional copies.

Then, set up book clubs or ‘lunch and learn’ sessions where team members can share insights they’ve gotten from a book they have read or discuss ideas among each other.

Encouraging colleagues to work together in pairs is an even further step in encouraging continuous learning within your organization.

Colleagues learn from each other through experiences, strengths and weaknesses, articulate their thoughts and lead others towards understanding their ideas They become part of a process that prioritizes learning which not only makes the organization more resilient but also creates joy from collective teaching and expanding horizons!

Wrap Up

Chief Joy Officer offers a simple yet powerful way to create joy in the workplace.

By discarding traditional hierarchies and structures that rely on fear, and instead embracing responsibility, collaboration and improvement, leaders can foster an environment of true joy at work.

An important step to achieving this is to make sure everyone is rewarded equally, no matter the size of their contribution – whether it be a breakthrough innovation or simply a friendly call to a potential client.

When all employees are appreciated, colleagues will support one another more effectively and people will experience job satisfaction they never thought possible.

That’s the core message of Chief Joy Officer: creating happiness at work doesn’t have to be a daunting task – it can start with something as simple as equal bonuses.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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