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November 2021 Menlo Bits


Zingerman's 6 Steps to Running a Great Meeting

A Focus on Step 6: Appreciate!

This holiday season, we have a meeting experiment for you to run. And it comes from our friends down the street at Zingerman’s. Nobody wants more meetings on their calendar and we do our best to avoid meetings. But if you can’t eliminate a meeting, can you make it better? Check out Step Six in this article, Appreciate! What a great time of year to try out intentionally expressing gratitude to those around you. We have found this to be a great way to end meetings when our entire team gathers. We hope you consider running this experiment and we would love to hear if you find it brings you joy.

This article is packed with other tips for effective meetings. Read more here!


As a thank you to our Menlo Bits subscribers this holiday season, we're offering a free copy of A Friday Filled with Joy: One Day in the Life of a Radically Innovative Company to the first 25 who use the discount code "FREESHIP" at checkout!

Limit 1 per order, US shipping only. Offer ends December 1st.


How to Talk to an Employee Who Isn’t Meeting Their Goals
5 Tips For an Effective Conversation

Having to share with a team member that they’re not meeting their work standards is never an easy conversation. In this article, Sabina Nawaz introduces 5 strategies to help leaders have the conversation with the employee as a partner in order to work together to see where you both align.

  • Ask before telling
  • Clarify non-negotiables and expectations
  • Connect to the employees goals
  • Describe specific behaviors
  • Craft a plan together
This allows the conversation to be a team effort where the employee assesses their own performance first, rather than the leader just passing judgement. Employees will appreciate the invitation to collaborate on improving their performance and become involved in finding a solution. Read the full article here!

Brave New Work Podcast: Surfacing the joy w/ Rich Sheridan
A Behind the Scenes Look at Menlo Innovations

What exactly does joy have to do with software development? If you ask our CEO and Chief Storyteller, Rich Sheridan, the answer is pretty simple: Everything. Joy is central to inspiring, sustaining, and steering Menlo as we experiment with new ways of working. In this episode of the Brave New Work podcast, Rich speaks about the personal struggles that first led him to future-of-work thinking; how some of Menlo’s vital practices—like pairing two developers together daily and having them work on a shared computer—have evolved over the years; and why “Make mistakes faster” is a longtime Menlo mantra. 

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music!


Pairing to Solve Business Problems
Pairing: Not Just for Software Development!

Pairing - it’s not just for software developers! Did you know that most roles at Menlo also pair, and all roles pair at some point? This crucial practice has been instrumental in coping with the rapid change to a remote, and now hybrid, workforce. If you find your team members struggling with loneliness and isolation, observe communication breakdowns, or are held hostage by a ‘tower of knowledge’ in any role - you may want to see how pairing could help your organization. Learn more and register here!


Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization

Author: Johanna Rothman

Recommended by: Lisa Ho, Project Manager

As we continue to grow, I am always interested in learning practical tips for helping our organization continue to innovate. For this reason, while I have all 3 of the books in this set, I decided to start with reading the third one: “Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.” 

In reading the book, it is clear that Johanna has years of experience working in the field of IT and coaching managers and teams. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the stories she tells that back up her ideas and recommendations. The stories come from her time earlier in her career working as a programmer and also her time more recently working as a consultant, helping to build and grow teams.

Our CEO, Rich Sheridan, says “If culture eats strategy for breakfast, then storytelling sets the table for the meal. In essence, we tell stories so we can pass the art, responsibility, and great joy of leadership down to others and share what we know with those in our community.” 

I am so thankful that Johanna has taken the time to cultivate and put down in words the stories and learnings from her career that relate to leadership and innovation and share them with the world. There are many practical tips and ways of thinking that I will carry forward with me at Menlo. I think anyone who works in a team and is aspiring to be a leader in their organization can learn from the teachings in this book. Next up for me, diving into books 1 and 2 in the series!

Get a copy for yourself here!

Hybrid Stand-Up Meeting - Continuous Tweaks!

Background: Every day at 10am our dart board alarm dings repeatedly to let Menlonians know it’s time to gather for our daily stand-up meeting. As Menlo is currently a hybrid environment, the dart board is back in use to let those in the office know it’s time to gather around the TV to sign into our remote stand-up. (Why a dart board has a built-in alarm clock is beyond us, but it works!)

The Problem: Sometimes our in-office folks have been a little pokey getting themselves over to the TV and signed in... leaving our remote team members waiting for us to kick it off. And since we want our stand-up meeting to be done before 10:15 am, timeliness is important!

The Experiment: To combat this, we've set the alarm on our dartboard to go off 5 minutes earlier to make sure our in-office team members are arriving on time. However, we may have set it a bit too early causing the alarm to be disregarded. Kind of like setting your alarm clock in the morning optimistically early just to hit snooze! We'll continue running this experiment with different time adjustments until we get it just right.

Experiments aren't something that have to be super complex and well thought out. Some work, some don't, and that's okay! No matter the complexity or the outcome, we always encourage you to Run The Experiment!

Virtual Workshops

Chief Joy Officer Book Club
Thursday, December 14th
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET
Register here

Story Mapping Workshop
Tuesday, December 7th
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM ET
Register here

Project Management: The Menlo Way™ Workshop (Virtual)
Wednesday, December 8th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET
Register here

High-Tech Anthropology® Workshop: Discovery and Design (Virtual)
January 12th - 13th
9:00AM - 5:00 PM ET
Register here

Pairing to Solve Business Problems
Thursday, December 2nd
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET
Register here
Virtual Tours

Menlo Factory Tour
Occurring weekly
Register here

A Fresh Taste of High-Tech Anthropology®
Wednesday, December 8th
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET
Register here

 Prosperity Project Lunch Panel
Friday, December 10th
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET
Register here

Personalized Offerings
Scheduled upon request

Menlo Bits

The Menlo Bits is Menlo's monthly newsletter, filled with all the latest in science and technology trends as well as what's been happening at Menlo.