Build A Storytelling Culture With Rich Sheridan

Build A Storytelling Culture With Rich Sheridan

by Patrick Adams | May 9, 2023

In this episode, Rich Sheridan and I discuss the impacts of implementing a culture of storytelling.

What You’ll Learn:

1. Why are you called the Chief Storyteller at Menlo?

2. Why is storytelling such an important part of your company’s culture?

3. What kinds of stories are relevant to tell?

4. How do you curate stories?

5. How do you build a storytelling culture?

About the Guest: 

Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller at Menlo Innovations, is a successful entrepreneur and author of two best-selling books—Joy Inc.: How We Built Workplace People Love and Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear. Rich’s passion for inspiring organizations to create their own joy-filled cultures has led him to address audiences across the world—through four continents and 18 countries (and counting) as well as throughout the United States.


Click here to learn more about Rich Sheridan

Click Here to learn more about Menlo Innovations

Click here for more information on Rich Sheridan’s books

Click here for The Lean Solutions Summit 


Patrick Adams  00:00

Hello, and welcome to the Lean solutions podcast. My guest today is rich Sheridan. He is the CEO and chief storyteller at Menlo innovations. He’s actually a returning guest. So he was with us back in season one, episode 49. But if you don’t know rich rich is a successful entrepreneur and author of two best selling books joy, Inc, how we built a workplace people love and joy Sorry, Chief Joy officer, How Great Leaders eliminate human energy and eliminate fear, which is passion for inspiring organizations to create their own joy filled cultures has led him to address audiences across the world, through four continents in 18 countries and counting, as well as throughout the United States, I’ve actually had the opportunity to see rich speak to a couple different groups and just love what you have to offer the value that you provide to people at conferences, but also by opening up your business rich and offering, you know, tours to people that come and see the amazing culture that you guys have at Menlo innovation. So welcome to the show.

Richard Sheridan  01:39

Great to be with you again, Patrick.

Patrick Adams  01:42

So last time that we were together rich, it’s it’s been a little while but we had some really, really great conversations. And the one story that that sticks out to me from our last time together was the story of the individual in McDonald’s. And I just I love that story. I love the idea of how you know, as leaders are that what we do our actions or behaviors can rub off on people in ways that can be good. And some of it can be bad, too. So I want to talk specifically about the good stuff. But you know, today, we’re going to talk about storytelling. And we’re going to dive into this topic a little bit, because it’s one of the things that I think sets Menlo apart from a lot of companies out there and the fact that you guys have a chief storyteller, and you are the chief storyteller. So why are you calling this the chief storyteller at Menlo?

Richard Sheridan  02:40

You know, it promotes one important thing that storytelling itself is important here. And the team anointed me the chief storyteller because I lead, right. And certainly in the early days, I lead a lot of the tours of Menlo, we typically these days, ignore the pandemic, of course, because all bets were off, then we get between three and 4000 people a year, we traveled from all over the world just to come see us. And on those tours, we tell stories. And given I was leaving a lot of those I was telling a lot of stories of our past and our triumphs in our tragedies in our future in our vision, that sort of thing. But over time, I was I couldn’t do all the tours anymore. And so they started pairing me like we pair a lot of people here. And what was fun was to hear two versions of stories from team members. One was their version of stories they heard me tell so they were retelling stories. And that was fun to listen to. But then they started telling their own stories, stories I’ve never heard or been aware of. And I began to understand that we had created a culture of both storytelling and storytellers simply by the virtue of the fact that all these people are coming and visiting. But it really dawned on me how important all of this was when, at one point, I was getting some feedback from a team member. And he remarked that every time I got near him with a tour group, he would stop to listen to the stories that I was telling same stories often over and over and over again. But he wanted to hear them again. And I realized this is maybe the most important point of storytelling, particularly the way we use them on tours, for example, that the stories yes are for our guests, but perhaps even more importantly, for the team members who overhear the stories while they’re being told.

Patrick Adams  04:43

So true. Yeah, I love that. And I’ve been able to hear many of your stories, as I mentioned, you know, in the intro here, you know, not only while I was at Menlo but, you know again also hearing you speak and being on the podcast so I’ve heard lots of different stories. Storytelling is something that, I think is it’s powerful. Because it engages, it engages the audience, and for those of us, you know, leaders in organizations who really need to engage the audience around, you know, and get the team aligned towards, you know, maybe a goal or something like that engaging them and, and getting them, you know, really bought into the change, or the initiative, or whatever it might be. I mean, stories can be a big part of that. And, you know, we talk about creating a compelling story for change, whenever we are initiating some kind of a change transformation or anything like that. You know, a lot of times you hear the term, like a burning platform, and I don’t really like that very much, because it almost creates like this severe and like, we’re, we’re telling a story to like, like, scare people as much as we can to get them to change. And I don’t know, what are your thoughts on that? Like, when it comes to telling stories? I mean, should you? Should you be trying to use stories to create fear in people? Or is there a different way to engage people into, you know, change for the for the better? What are your thoughts on that?

Richard Sheridan  06:17

Well, on the subject of fear, and I write books about joy, I think if I was going to write opposite book about Menlo would be called fearing not joining. So you might guess where I fall on. Using fear is a motivational tool spectrum. You know, I fundamentally believe we have a poster on the wall here, this says fear doesn’t make bad news go away, fear makes bad news go into hiding, and now we can manage it anymore. And, you know, I would say the Lean community, when done well, the lean community understands it better than anybody. Right? This is why we use visual management systems. This is why we go on gimble walks we want, we want to see the real stories as they’re playing out. And, you know, I think stories ultimately, the stories we tell of the past should remind us of why we’re here and remind us of what’s important. And you know, yeah, we’re gonna tell stories of failures in the past that that create fear. But to remind us, why is it so important what, why we’re doing things the way we’re doing them? Particularly of things like your Menlo things go pretty darn well, most of the time, in terms of the work we do. And we tell stories of the past, you know, some of our most dire situations, because we’ve only had a couple of big emergencies over the past 22 years. And we tell the stories, because if you’ve never experienced emergency, you don’t even know what it’s like and what it’s about. And why are you talking about emergencies? If you don’t have them? It’s like, oh, no, we need to remind you why we’re trying to avoid them. Because software systems regularly have big emergencies, not the ones we create, but the ones out in the world. So we have to remind our team, what’s important, why are we here? What do we believe, and then the stories about the future, I don’t think this should be about the burning platform, because to me that, you know, conjures up the image of people jumping off that platform into unknown shark infested waters. I think they should inspire, I think we should create a vision that people you know, want to work hard to, to help you accomplish.

Patrick Adams  08:27

So true. 100%, in agreement with you there, I you know, I’ve been involved with organizations where leaders do just that, and they they create this vision for the future that that people can buy into that they get excited about. And then I in stories, success stories, like you said, things that actually have happened in their organization that support the direction that they want to go or, you know, celebration stories of things people are doing today that are driving them closer to that, you know, and so, you know, obviously that’s a you know, for me, I agree with you, I think it’s definitely the the better approach than, you know, utilizing fear to try to instill change, but what about at Menlo, you know, specifically, why is storytelling, such an important part of your company’s culture? What made it you know, just such an important piece of what you guys do there?

Richard Sheridan  09:24

You know, I can remember back to the earliest days of tours, groups that would come in, and there was just one particular day where we had a big group coming in, and I was going to be leading this discussion with this group coming in. And for whatever reason, that day got away from me. And I was supposed to have prepared this presentation. And all of a sudden, I see him walking in the door. They had food with them, they were going to spend dinner and in the early evening with us, and I had nothing prepared and I was a little bit like, oh, no, I let my day get away from me. And so I told everybody I said, just walk around the room, take a look at what you see, think about what you’re observing. And then then we’ll get started, you know, and I basically pretended I had a presentation to make. And I said, Hey, before we get started, does anybody have any questions? No other handles. And in that moment, I started telling the stories related to the questions you were asking. And I realized that, you know, two hours in answering questions, telling stories. Finally, the person who brought the group and said to me, Hey, rich, I’m sorry, we’re not gonna be able to get to your presentation. You know, we’ve taken up all this time with the questions. And in that moment, what I realized was what was happening was really compelling. Number one, they were consuming the information in the order, they wanted to consume it. The stories I was telling was exciting their imagination for the follow on questions. So rather than me putting together this, you know, stifling PowerPoint deck or something like that, the stories actually help guide the conversation. And, you know, I’ve, you know, come to realize that stories are what connect, you know, mind to spirit in, you know, in concept to reality. And in storytelling. If we believe strategy, you know, or culture eats strategy for breakfast, I think storytelling sets the table for that meal. And for me, nobody wants to watch the PowerPoint decks, nobody wants to see the boring Excel spreadsheets and the graphs and the charts and all that kind of stuff. Because you walk away from that, and you’re like, what was the point? What what are you trying to communicate to me? And how should I feel about it? But stories that connect, you know, I think the conscious part of our thinking, with how we feel, is critical to leading people. Yes,

Patrick Adams  12:09

and I mean, humans are emotional beings. And, you know, the stories that we tell, help us to connect with each other, you know, like you said, I, it made me while you’re talking, I was just thinking about a an organization that, that I worked with, at one time where they were doing before and after Kaizen events in their areas, mostly like motion kaizen. So they were trying to shorten up the, the distance that they were traveling, and it was completely driven by the employees that were working in each of these different assembly cells. And the leadership team, they’re empowered the team to, you know, take a picture before and after and create a couple bullet points of before and a couple of bullet points of after. And then they they printed out these large poster boards and put them at each of the assembly cells. And then a couple of weeks later, there was a an executive tour that came through, and the leadership team at the site, asked the employees in an area to stand and tell the story of the experience that they went through, from start to finish of transforming their assembly cell. And, you know, so everybody was quiet, and the team members, you know, started telling the story, and you could see the emotions coming out of like, first the pain that they were in, and the challenges in the beginning, and then the excitement of having an opportunity to actually be involved in that change and be part of it, and then almost like a relief at the end of like, look what we’ve been able to accomplish. And, and we’re not done. And here’s where we’re gonna go. And then the excitement of you know, what’s next. And I just remember how amazing it was to just hear them telling their own story and their experiences. And it just seems like, you know, just such a perfect fit to, you know, just talking to the leaders out there for not only utilizing storytelling to to help your organization change or to, to, you know, help help them in an in a big way. We’ll talk about relevance here in just a minute. But, but also letting your team members tell stories, and let them be part of the process of coming storytellers. Right. You’re, you know, obviously, you said some of the you talked earlier about some of the the your employees starting to tell stories, their own stories, right. So similar, it’s similar connection there. What’s the relevance of stories that you know, what, what kinds of stories, you know, how do you know when you know what story to tell or when to tell or any? I mean, what’s,

Richard Sheridan  14:43

where do you? You know, I think that part of that Patrick is simply the experience of having told so many over time, and also almost like an improv theater type of atmosphere here at Menlo where There’s a lot of experimentation around stories here. In fact, I know now I can probably because we’ve been doing it for so long, you can almost tell when you’re in the middle of a developing story. Right? I mean, I refer to it now by the term lucid story creation or curation, that creation. So in other words, you’re in the middle of a story, just like you’d be in the middle of a lucid dream. And obviously, you’re like, oh, my gosh, I’m dreaming, you know, I can control the dream. And when you’re in the middle of a developing story, you start, like, watching for the details. Because you realize this, what’s happening right now is something we need to capture, we need to curate, and we need to tell again, and again, and again, because people in the future will benefit with from what’s happening right now. Because I think too often, you know, continuous improvement kind of culture. Often, the pockets of improvement can be just that they can be pockets, they don’t get translated other areas fast enough. And you think, Well, I guess we should form a committee to write a policy on taking what we learned here and implemented over there. But what’s interesting is how fast things can move, when you capture in a story, and you retell that story to others. Because I think the best part of storytelling when you do it well, and when you practice it over and over again, you get pretty good at it is the audience starts to place themselves in the story. There’s that mirroring neuron effect, where suddenly you can feel the emotion of the person telling the story. And if they’re excited, if they were anxious, if they were felt, you know, exuberant, because they, they accomplished some big thing. You’re almost cheering them on. But it is certain point, you’re like, I want to have that experience, too. And so you begin taking the elements of those stories and applying them in your own situation. And so the stories here can be stories of technical triumph of design triumph of, you know, human conflict triumph for, you know, there were a couple of team members who were in conflict with one another, they worked it through the that sometimes they tell their stories together, let me tell you how I was feeling. Let me tell you how I was feeling. And people start to see oh, my gosh, like I had a conflict like that last week, I could have used this kind of lesson to apply in the conflict I had, or I had a difficult conversation with a customer around that topic. And that story helps me understand how I should respond in that situation. The next step.

Patrick Adams  17:39

Yeah, for sure, I love it was so rich, I find myself sometimes telling the same stories over and over again, when I’m trying to when someone asked me a question, and it’s like the same story comes to mind. And I feel like I’m telling the same story a lot. Is that the these see that as a problem that some if someone uses the same stories to explain themselves, or should we come up with new and you know, new stories? What are your thoughts on that?

Richard Sheridan  19:04

You know, I think there are old good old stories that should be told over and over again. For example, we often tell the story of the founding of Venmo. How did it come to be? How did my co founder and I come together? What were we thinking at the time? What were we hoping to accomplish? People want to understand the roots of their organization. And I think telling those founding stories over and over again, in the early successes and some of the early you know, struggles. that’s those are important. We want to know lineage, we want to know, like, how did this come to be? And you know, there’s a lot of famous visual artifacts here. Our persona maps, our visual planning systems, our work authorization boards we use, we’re crazy company, software company, we use a lot of paper based visual artifacts. And people want to know, why didn’t you do that? Where did that come from? What problem were you trying to solve? And so there are repetitive stories here. Absolutely. But I think the danger is only repeating the same stories over and over again, is there’s a little bit of so is anything interesting happened lately? Sure. And so there’s always that sense of, you should be curating new fresh stories, as well. Because, you know, that is an indication of vibrancy, that’s an indication of growth, that’s an indication of, of change. And those stories are going to help capture that and, and let us all be assured every organization on planet Earth captured or should have captured a whole bunch of new stories in the last three years.

Patrick Adams  20:44

Absolutely, I would hope so. You mentioned curate, curating, organizing the story. If if someone’s listening in and maybe they don’t, they’re there. They want to tell stories, they want it to make this part of how they lead? What would be your suggestions for how to organize a story? Like how do you put it together? If you’re not maybe fluent in storytelling? What would you do?

Richard Sheridan  21:13

Well, you know, I think every storyteller should sort of develop their own style. And the only way to do that is through deliberate practice. I often suggest to people if they want to practice telling stories in a much safer environment than work. Just reading nighttime stories to your kids, maybe enhancing the stories a little bit. The other thing I would recommend to to new storytellers is watch people who tell stories, who you really admire, and and see how they do it. What was it about those stories that grabbed your heart? grabbed your attention? Was it the way they use their voice? Was it the pregnant pauses in the discussion was it leading up to some big, maybe surprising point. And I think storytelling is better when it’s simpler, when you’re trying to not tell every single detail, but just simply capturing the highlights. And the best way to get to this I have found is just simply start telling the story. And then being sensitive to the audience reactions to what you say. See where they make connection with you see where they are leaning on every word, seeing where they laugh, or where they grimace or where they react to what you’re saying. And, and just get a sense of your audience. And over time, you know, I have various stories I tell where I can tell them in 30 seconds, or I can tell them in 30 minutes, depending on what the nature of the story is, and what the nature of the audience is who’s trying to learn something. And so, you know, practicing deliberately practicing those stories over and over again and again, picking safer audiences to begin with, you know, maybe it’s your, your, your unit inside of your company, maybe it’s some people you go out to lunch with. And then over time, you start to spread your winks a little bit and tell those stories to others. And I have found a good litmus test for a story that lasts and you know, you are yet another example of today, when you said, Oh, that story of Mike at McDonald’s, right? Yeah. And and I’m guessing you know, you’ve heard that story once or twice, maybe I don’t know. And you could tell that story fairly accurately. Right? Even though you’ve only heard it from me once and you weren’t there. That’s evidence of the story that’s compelling of a story that connects this in a story that makes a point. Because if you’re able to retell the story, and it doesn’t have to be accurate, that accuracy is far less important than how does the story make the audience feel? That’s right. And so, you know, I just I have this happen all the time now, where people walk you, they’ll say, Hey, rich, I was here 12 years ago, how long the story of the handheld diesel motor diagnostic tool and the rubber gloves. Like you Wow, you remember that story from 12 years ago. That’s amazing.

Patrick Adams  24:27

That’s great. You know that there’s, there’s another thing that that comes from storytelling that is right in alignment with what you’re talking about. And that’s the ripples that happen when you tell a story because I’ll even I’m gonna be completely transparent here with you rich, the story of the red balloon. I’ve actually used that story a few times in presenting or, or talking with people when certain topics come up. And if you’re not familiar with with that, if you’re listening in everybody else You can go back to Episode 49. Rich told that story as well. And, again, I’ve used it. And so, you know, you told me the story. And then I told the story. And I’ll be honest that probably not all the details were were correct, like you said, but when I told that story, I could see the emotions of the people I was talking to, you know, I could see that they were, they were feeling the same feeling that I had when you told me the story. So there’s also ripples that come from the stories that are told and you know, again, how people use those to, you know, create, you know, Joy not only in their workplace, but I mean, the ripples can go even farther beyond the workforce.

Richard Sheridan  25:44

And again, if if I had told some version of that with PowerPoint slides, and bar graphs and pie charts, you wouldn’t have remembered anything, and you would have never retold the story. And there would be no ripple effect whatsoever. But the fact that I could, you know, and again, when that story happened to me, because I was there when it and I had never heard of anybody using helium balloons to indicate, you know, wherever there’s a desk with a balloon taped to it as the person that has the task is running an experiment, come talk to me about it. Absolutely. And then, of course, what did I say to myself? Oh, my gosh, this is a story, right? And then you just capture the essence of that story. And tell it again, and again. And again. And I will tell you that story, in particular, Patrick, and I understand why you would tell it again, again, gets it has a lot of legs to it. Because you know, I tell that story. Once I just gave a keynote to the Lockheed Martin Space group out in Denver. And within a week, I was getting stories from their director, saying, Hey, rich, I was in a presentation. People were presenting on their work. And I’m noticing up in the upper right hand corner of their slides, there’s this red balloon, and he says, what’s with the red balloon? This is Oh, don’t you remember, Rich’s talk, this is our experiment. We’re running this experiment, we’re putting in balloons on all the slides where we’re talking about experiments we’re running. And again, you know, those kinds of spontaneous effects of telling a two minute story and the effect it can have on a team of people. Like that is just, I mean, it’s it is so compelling for me to hear you say that for me to hear them say that, that you know, it emboldened storyteller? Let me tell you. Yeah,

Patrick Adams  27:39

that’s, that’s amazing. I love it. And in really what, what you’ve done at Menlo, rich with your team, together, you guys have created this storytelling culture, because it’s not just you anymore. There’s a reason why you guys have a chief storyteller. Because you know, you have all kinds of all kinds of storytellers that mentally you’ve created this culture. It for those that are listening in that are going, I want that for my organization, I want that for my team. Any any advice that you would give them on how to build a storytelling culture?

Richard Sheridan  28:15

You know, I would say the first best advice is, get curious about people. And so the next time you sit down with for coffee with maybe somebody you’ve worked with for years, and you’ve collaborated with, but just sit down and say, Hey, Patrick, tell me your life story. And I’ll tell you, the first time I say this to people, and a lot of times the first time I meet them, you know, because they want to start out with some reason we’re getting together, they want to talk about what happened in the last week or last month, or some project they’re working on or something they want to garner from me. And I say, Hold on a second. I want to hear first about the person sitting across from me. Tell me your life story. Yeah, like why? I said, Yeah, tell me where were you born? What’s what’s what’s happened between that day and today? And you don’t know the cause? And and be like, really? You want that? I mean, that’s gonna take a while. I’m like, I don’t know. But you know, at least give it 10 minutes. And what’s amazing that you learn when you do that is people pick in 10 minutes discussion of an entire lifetime, the things that are most important to them. And you start to learn human, which is the real critical aspect of storytelling. I love this quote from John Naisbitt, and he wrote it in 1982. And it seems so appropriate today, given everything that’s happening in the world technologically with chat GPP and AI and machine learning and all that kind of stuff. And he said, the most interesting and compelling advances that are going to happen in the 21st century he wrote this back in 1980. You are not going to occur because of technology, but because of a greater understanding of what it means to be human. Humans, as you said earlier, we’re emotional creatures. That’s why we respond to stories. That’s why we built those stories into anthems of nations. Right? There are stories we tell about our tribes, our nations, our neighborhoods, our schools, our communities. And we tell those stories, because we’re trying to create a sense of belonging, a sense of community. And so what better story to have another human being tell you their life story, because you’re going to tell me the things that have happened along the way in your life, that were really significant to you. And that way, I get to know you as a person. Now, the next thing about storytelling, and this is the opposite of what people think about, because I’m having you tell me a story, right? Is to listen, to really understand because when I listen to you, and I really understand your story, now you and I have a deeper connection. And very likely, again, it’s not always going to happen, you’re going to say, well, rich, tell me your life story, right. But now I can maybe tailor it to the things I’ve learned about you maybe create some odd connections that neither one of us would have expected, because there was something that happened in your life story, that’s very similar to something that happened in my life story. And that might surprise the two people to say, oh, my gosh, we, we went through the same experiences early in our career, or we had the same bad boss source, like that, you know. And in that way, now, we now we’re building a connection between us, learning to tell your life story in various sizes. And parts, which is a story you should be fairly familiar with, because it’s your story is a really good way to begin the practice.

Patrick Adams  32:09

So true. Yeah, I love it. I love it. And, and being able to just start practicing it like that is, you know, like you said, find, find a friend, you know, find a co worker, and ask them about their life, like you said, I think that’s a great way to start practicing. And, you know, also, like you said earlier, practicing with your kids is another great way to I mean, I’ll be the first one to tell you that, that I got a little tired of the same book every single night with my shoot now 14, but when she was a little bit younger, it was like the same book every single night, because she loved the story, you know, but eventually I started to use voices, you know, it kind of enhanced it a little bit. And then I also remember when I started to replace the names with names of people that we knew, and then that was really funny. You know, so you know, just getting getting creative with it. But I mean, that’s how you learn, just start doing it. And, you know, again, whether it’s coworkers or your kids or whoever it is being able to tell, start telling stories. And then, you know, like you’ve done start figuring out how to build that, that that culture, that storytelling culture. I love what you guys are doing at Menlo rich. And again, we could talk forever. I love having this is obviously our second discussion. And again, we could we could go on forever. But I also want to hit on the fact that you guys are in a new building, right? You’ve moved your offices. I’ve been there multiple times to your old location. But now you’re in a new location. Can you tell us a little bit about your new space?

Richard Sheridan  33:51

Absolutely. And you know, we’re excited to let you know that we have moved. We were in we used to be in the basement of the Liberty Square parking structure. right in downtown Ann Arbor, less than a block away from campus to the University of Michigan. We only moved about a block and a half further west from the Michigan campus. So we’re right in the same part of town we used to be in still on Liberty Street. But we moved up in the world. We actually have natural light flowing in our windows now. I would say sunlight, but it’s still wintertime in Michigan. So I can only go as far as saying natural light right now. But we’re delighted to have floor to ceiling windows. It’s the same style of space it’s wide open it’s you know, it’s it’s a noisy environment. There’s no walls, there’s no offices or cubes or doors, that sort of thing. I sit out in the room with everybody else just like I used to. But but as I said we’re delighted to be in the new space and delighted to have natural light flowing in our windows now.

Patrick Adams  34:55

Very nice. So now has that did everything from you know as far as the visual artifact? cuz that you had in your other looking at all that shift over as well and everything is still being managed in the same way.

Richard Sheridan  35:06

Yeah, except that, you know, like I said, we all have stories from the pandemic, horse, you know, Menlo used to be this 100% collaborative in person culture. And then it was, you know, suddenly that week of March 16 of 2020. It was a 100% work from home culture. And it was that for at least two years, and now we’re back to about 80% of the team in so we now have largely in person, but still a hybrid environment. So the visual paper based artifacts are still driving our projects here. And you would see those when you come to visit. But we’ve enhanced it with electronic versions, so that the people at home can keep up on the projects the same way as the people in the room caring. That’s great.

Patrick Adams  35:55

And you mentioned coming to visit, I’ll just drop a shameless plug here. First week of October, we’ll be hosting the Lean Solution Summit here in West Michigan. And on the third day of the summit, on Wednesday of that first week of October, we’re going to take a group, it’s actually limited seating only 100 People 50 on one bus and 50. And another we’re actually going to bus you over to Menlo innovations with rich Sheridan and then also Zingerman’s mail order with Jeff Laker, and so rich when the team when when individuals arrive there, can you just give maybe just an overview of what they can expect when they arrive at Menlo and have an opportunity to tour and see what you guys do?

Richard Sheridan  36:44

Well, you’ll be able to see feel and hear the joy of Menlo there will be palpable human energy in the room, because everybody here is in this big open space working to a computer. Talking through the work that they’re doing. We’re a software design and development firms to be able to see actual software development and progress, which probably for the most part, people say, Well, that sounds really boring. But it’s different at Menlo. Because we’re working in pairs to people sharing a keyboard and a mouse all day long. You’ll you’ll see the artifacts that drive those pairings you’ll see the artifacts that actually drive the actual work. And the planning, you are likely to if there’s no one in your group is glucans, who’s concerned about dogs, there’s likely to be a dog or two in the space that adds to the human energy. And we just, you know, do some math here. I would guess. memo baby number 29 Just arrived this week. George and his wife had their second child little Joel, and in I believe by the time you’re here, Joel may be coming in with George everyday. So there may be a mental a baby in the room as well, which is one of our more famous stories in our so yeah, you’ll you’ll you’ll have a chance to really get in touch with what makes Menlo tick. How does it work? How is it organized? How? How are the simple repeatable, measurable visible structures and processes of memo exposed in the space itself?

Patrick Adams  38:22

Yeah, love it. I can’t wait. Everyone also will walk away with your book, joy, Inc. And so they’ll be able to take that away. Hopefully everyone that’s listening is going to be at the Lean Solution Summit. So you, you actually won’t have to buy the book. But if there is someone listening that wants to grab chief Joy officer, your newest book, or if they want to go out and get joy Inc. Is that just out on Amazon? Is there any special place to grab that?

Richard Sheridan  38:48

Anywhere books are sold, it’s available in hardcopy in electronic format and also in audible.

Patrick Adams  38:57

Perfect and if anyone wants to schedule a visit or come by and check out Menlo or learn more about what you guys do as a company, where would they go to to do that?

Richard Sheridan  39:08

If they go to our website, Menlo,, and me and Hello, there, right on the homepage, there’s a place to schedule your tour. We’re starting to do public tours again, for the first time since the pandemic. We’ve been doing a lot of private tours. But now we’re opening it up again to the public for the first time in three years, which is very exciting for us. And, or if you just want to write experience at Menlo, send them an email say, Hey, I hear you guys do tours. Tell me more about them and our team would be happy to discuss that option with it.

Patrick Adams  39:42

Awesome. I love I love being part of your huddles when I come in everything. Everything that you guys do there is is always great. Every time I come I see something new and then I learned so it’s always fun that to come and visit but I’m looking forward to seeing you in October. And again we’ll do Drop all those links that rich just mentioned into the show notes. If you’re interested, you can go there, get some more information. Rich as always, it’s great to see you. It’s great to hear how things are going at Menlo and just love. You know the discussion that we had today about storytelling and how that’s really changed the culture at Menlo in a positive way. So thank you for what you do.

Richard Sheridan  40:22

You bet. Great to be with you, Patrick, and thanks for helping spread the stories.

Patrick Adams  40:27


Meet Patrick

Patrick is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, and professional speaker, best known for his unique human approach to sound team-building practices; creating consensus and enabling empowerment. He founded his consulting practice in 2018 to work with leaders at all levels and organizations of all sizes to achieve higher levels of performance. He motivates, inspires, and drives the right results at all points in business processes.

Patrick has been delivering bottom-line results through specialized process improvement solutions for over 20 years. He’s worked with all types of businesses from private, non-profit, government, and manufacturing ranging from small business to billion-dollar corporations.