Title: Build a Workplace People Love — Just add Joy
One-sentence main message: Create an intentional team culture focused on the business value of joy and unleash the human energy and the results you always knew were possible.
The CIO invited me into his office and closed the door. Before he took me for a tour of his operation, he had a few stories to share. Important stories. Last year’s project was a disaster. Late, lots of quality issues, in short, a failure in every dimension. His boss, the CEO, had just presented him with a very personal ultimatum: deliver the next project by April 4th, “or else”.
“Or else what,” I asked?
His team was burned out and scared. They were a hard-working and dedicated group, but fear and demoralization had set in and he didn’t know what to do next. That’s why he wanted to talk to me, he had heard things about my company, things that seemed too good to be true, but he had to hear them firsthand. He wanted hope, inspiration, and a practical way to get there.
I told him about my own journey from joy to fear to disillusionment back to joy. It was simple, but, of course, simple isn’t easy. I wasn’t sure he and his organization were ready; “manufactured fear” is a powerful drug.
In this talk, I will share with you what I shared with him. I will explore what an intentionally joyful culture must choose as its focus. I will discuss what joy looks like, feels like, how it is organized. Along the way, you will be confronted by paradoxical approaches of how workplace noise increases productivity, how two people at one computer outperforms hero-based organizations 10-to-1, how rigor and discipline emanate from a shared-belief system, how transparency conquers fear, how all of the disciplines you study including agile, lean, and six sigma when done well are really about building human relationships at the intersections of business and technology, between project management and software development, between development and design and how quality can be a natural result of a team built on trust.
This is not a theoretical talk, but rather a talk built from well over a decade of experience of leading a team focused on “the business value of joy”. There will be lots of room for discussion with the audience. The audience will begin to understand why thousands of people make the journey to Ann Arbor, Michigan every year to see The Menlo Software Factory firsthand, and why so many more are reading about it in Joy, Inc. — How We Built A Workplace People Love.
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. Six 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™.