Influence > Authority

Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan tells the story of a “take your daughter to work day” when he was just another corporate Vice President. After a day of making calls and answering emails while she patiently colored with crayons and “observed,” he asked, “so, what do you think about Daddy’s job? What did you see today?” Her answer changed his life.


“You’re really important.” 


“Hmm. What’s that mean?” 


“Nobody can make a decision without you.” 


Oh no.


It was one of those special moments. Sheridan realized that if no one could make a decision without him, which was indeed true, then the business would only ever move at his speed. He played the scenario forward in time – if he kept down this path as the business continued to grow, then more and more decisions would have to cross his desk leaving him with less and less time for his daughter. He had to rethink what he was doing because this would never scale in the way he needed or wanted it to. 


Sheridan would go on to reshape his beliefs with Menlo Innovations in the early 2000s. He crafted a vision based on creating joy for both the clients and the co-workers (it only sounds cheesy until you’ve seen how they operate). He used that vision to, as he put it, lead through influence and not authority. Today, thousands of individuals have gone to visit Menlo just to learn more about how they work and see what they can bring back to their own companies. 


It may have been Sheridan’s daughter that nailed the reality of his situation, but it was Sheridan himself who actually did something about it. I can’t recommend learning more about him and Menlo Innovations enough. Hear him on Michael Covel’s podcast, or see his books Joy, Inc. and Chief Joy Officer.



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