Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act.
A couple years ago I heard about a remarkable company, Menlo Innovations, created by a remarkable leader, Richard Sheridan. We sent a video team to talk to him and see his company in action, and what we learned was truly inspirational. He built the company on a unique foundation: to create joy. Although it’s a software design firm, everything they do is to add joy to their customers and employees. Their mission is to “End human suffering as it relates to software.” They’ve been very successful.
The key to create joy for your customers is to create joy for your employees. To create joy for your employees you must lead without creating fear. Fear is created when there is a lack of trust, when information isn’t available, when the job expectations and mission are not clear, when there isn’t enough time to complete the job, and when there isn’t the support – training or otherwise – to be able to do a good job. Fear reduces a person’s ability to access the pre-frontal cortex, thereby being unable to take full advantage of creativity, innovation, and rational thought.
Menlo Innovations works to remove the sources of fear. First and foremost, the leaders are authentic and trusted. Financial and other business information is openly shared, posted, and discussed – to a depth that would easily scare the traditional CFO. There are very few meetings, and those that remain must add significant value. The objectives, responsibilities, and status of every project are also posted. Employees work in teams of two, thereby providing mutual support, relief, and coaching. The hiring process is lengthy and grueling to ensure new team members will support and thrive in the Menlo culture.
Work to create joy, not fear, by being open, authentic, and trusted. Support your team by providing the time, resources, training, and expectations necessary for them to do their job. Your customers will thank you.