In 1984, the nonprofit TED Project was founded. Ted Talks has given thousands of speeches around the globe on design, entertainment, and business. These short speeches are tools for enhancing your knowledge base through educational, informational, and motivational presentations. They are especially helpful in the business world which often convinces us the only way in is through the seemingly never-ending grind day in and day out.
If you are in the corporate world vying for that promotion, interested in learning about business, or wanting to start your own, Ted Talks gives you access to helpful information by its industry’s leaders. These five videos offer new perspectives for thinking and working smarter.
1.Kelly McGonigal – How to Make Stress Your Friend
Kelly starts the talk off with some jarring statistics: 20,000 deaths per year are caused by the belief that stress might kill you. Yikes. It is in the worrying that is probably doing the majority of damage to your heart. She asks us to think about stress has our bodies getting ready to meet this new challenge. The heart-pounding merely is us becoming prepared to “fight” and more importantly, win. The key to success with this new perspective is a healthy loving support group. When are stressed, we do better if we are surrounded by people who love us. Huh. Go figure.
2. Susan Colantuono – The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get
der and CEO of Leading Woman (a consulting firm helping companies who want to close their gender gap in business) Susan Colantuono tackles the difficult question: Why aren’t there more women in upper management? Colantuono suggests it because women tend to lack a particular skill vital to a top management role. She calls it “Business, strategic, and financial acumen,” or the ability to understand business and people’s roles within it. It is not because women are incapable of the skill, but because society and culture have never put any emphasis on women learning it. If you’re a woman in the business of any kind, it is a must-watch.
3. Bill Gross – The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed
20 years before this Ted Talk aired, Gross had founded IdeaLab. With IdeaLab, he has launched 100 companies including YouTube, Instagram, and Airbnb (to name a few). He decided to analyze 100 Idealab companies and 100 non-IdeaLab companies to understand what the most critical factor is for their success. He ranked the companies on a scale of 1-10 on five factors: Business Model, Idea, Team, Funding, and Timing. What he found was timing outweighed any other consideration significantly. Gross says, “The best way to assess timing is to look at whether consumers are ready for what you have to offer them. And to be honest about it.”
4. Dan Ariely – What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?
Behavioral economist and best-selling author Dan Ariely describe his unique perspective on what makes us feel good about the work we do. People assume everyone’s motivation for hard work is the money. However, Ariely argues that this is false. He goes on to say how “meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride” are all fantastic motivators for success as well. The belief that our work has meaning/purpose no matter how small energizes people into action. Compared to a perception of meaninglessness leaves them with a lethargy damaging to their productivity and commitment. As a business leader in your industry, always remember that offering the briefest acknowledgment of someone’s hard work can motivate people to stay and fight the cause.
Conversely, repeatedly ignoring the hard work of your team destroys their motivation and will only force them to seek it elsewhere, and giving you a mediocre job in the interim. It is compassion, understanding, and praise that keeps people in a company, not always a paycheck. This is a great lesson in leadership and business management that can spill into so many aspects of our personal lives.
5. Dan Pink – The Puzzle of Motivation
The motivational expert Dan Pink talks about the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations filtered through the lens of how we run our businesses today. According to Pink, there is a mountain worth of scientific evidence to support that intrinsic motivation (doing something because it matters to you) is the secret to an amazing performance and not extrinsic motivations (rewards and punishments). This is not the case with your typical corporate businesses today. These businesses are built on “carrots and stocks.”
Motivating a great performance with “carrots” or raises and bonuses, then adversely punishing bad performance with “sticks” or write-ups, verbal reprimands, or firings. Pink encourages businesses to give their teams significantly more autonomy to which he uses Wikipedia as an example. Here you have an organization where people from all over the world contribute information without any compensation. No one predicted that Wikipedia would turn into the powerhouse it is today. But that, Pink says, exemplifies the inner drive in all of us to succeed.