Chief Joy Officer – Tom Peters Book Summary

Chief Joy Officer – Tom Peters | Free Book Summary

Chief Joy Officer – Tom Peters

Chief Joy Officer by Tom Peters is a book about how great leaders can create an environment of joy, energy, and enthusiasm in their organizations. 

The book discusses how to foster an environment of collaboration, creativity, and innovation and how to help employees find meaning in their work. It also provides practical advice on topics such as communication, motivation, and creating a culture of joy and purpose. The book is based on Richard Sheridan’s experience as the founder of Menlo Innovations and draws on his successful experiences leading the company.

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Start with Purpose

A growth–mind-set economy demands speed and distributed, near-the-work decision making. It demands adaptation. A flatter structure satisfies the need for increased speed by removing delays and lifting very smart workers out of the bureaucratic despair of endless meetings.

This does not mean all standards are thrown out the window: a bright frontline staff still needs overall values-based guidance (aligned with a purpose and driven by vision), fenceposts (guiding principles), a broad behavioral compass (expectations for critical behaviors), instructive lessons (that inform and teach visible actions), and an easy-to-navigate process (systems thinking) so that small mistakes can be encouraged, caught early, and corrected while there is still time and money to recover.

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Leadership is like glue!

Leadership is the glue that brings it all together. The challenge you’ll have is that you won’t find a pool of talented leaders whom you can just plug into your culture of purpose and run with. You will need to create an environment and system for finding talented individuals, building them into leaders, and giving them space to flourish.

Value Leaders, Not Bosses

Bosses have a trump card that leaders do not have. Bosses can do the thing that our parents did that drove us crazy as kids. They can respond to “Why?” with “Because I said so!” People who influence positive and beneficial outcomes, without the hammer of “Because I said so!” at their disposal, are good leaders, whether they are bosses or not.

Bosses who use a “Because I said so!” approach are not leaders. Bosses can have short, quick solutions to complex situations. Leaders are not afforded that luxury. A leader must leave openings for conversations.

 A leader empathizes and invites the conversation, both for the value of the conversation itself and the opportunity for growing a new leader.

Care for the Team

If we speak of teamwork, yet reward individual heroes with praise and promotions, we implicitly develop a system of heroic leaders. That can work until the leader stumbles, and those around them silently cheer so that they can get their turn in the spotlight. We want our entire team to care deeply about their leaders and if they stumble to be right there to help them up.

Learn Together

Ask yourself whether you can codify any of the insights you’ve gathered in your company and share them with others. Perhaps your team can host a Lunch and Learn for other companies in your area to share best practices on marketing or team building, for example.

Become Storytellers

The art of storytelling is as old as human history. Before books or schools, leaders would use an oral tradition to pass on the most important lessons of their families, their tribes, and their nations around campfires, at the foot of totems, or by singing anthems that had captured these tales of their history. Mankind has preserved and fostered the growth of civilization through story. Storytelling touches our hearts and minds in ways that policy manuals and fancy brochures never will.

Get people to tell stories

Storytelling itself is a skill that needs to be developed, honored, and nurtured. If you do not already have a storytelling culture, set out to build one. Find avenues to tell stories. You may use stories in new employee orientation to tell the history of the company to those just joining. If you like, set up your own internal TEDx event and ask the presenters to bring stories of work to the event. Record them. Run the event every year.

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