TED (technology, education, design) Talks aren’t new, although they have certainly gained traction and influence over the last decade. Started in 1984 as a one-off event, they have become one of the greatest ways for anyone interested in technological, scientific and societal changes, and a vast range of other academic topics, to hear from leaders in their field of interest. As of March this year there are now over 2,400 TED Talks available to watch for free online and with so many available it can be confusing knowing what will interest you and where to start. Fear not! For budding entrepreneurs and those wanting to take their company to the next level, here are our recommendations of the best TED Talks to watch.
With over a million views on this talk alone, Simon Sinek (an author and expert in leadership) starts this talk with a story of brave military leadership, emphasising the importance of the selflessness and self-sacrifice; Captain William Swenson ran towards live-firing enemies to rescue his injured soldiers. He compares the military attitude with that of the modern business environment; a place where employees do not share the same camaraderie as the army. The contemporary worker fears redundancy, unnecessarily long probations, and a host of other factors that do not make an employee feel safe. The modern boss should look at his employees like their children, be concerned with their wellbeing and long-term employment. Staff that have trust in their boss to look out for them will achieve considerably more than those that don’t.
"The modern boss should look at his employees like their children, be concerned with their wellbeing and long-term employment."
As the founder and incubator of over 100 startups, Bill Gross is the perfect person to guide and advise on the early stages of a new enterprise. Using the data he has collected over the last 20 years of funding startups, he devised a list of five elements he sees as crucial in the success or failure of a new company:
- The idea
- The team
- The business model
If you’re thinking of starting your own recruitment business, take into consideration the above five points and build relationships with people who will help you to succeed. Network. Network. Network.
Quoting from an experiment on the correlation between food and happiness, Malcolm Gladwell, a journalist and author, stressed the importance of discovering the many (not just one) routes to happiness. Throughout the experiment, conducted by psychologist Howard Moskowitz, participants were asked what they liked in spaghetti sauce. Unfortunately, they couldn’t give definitive answers so he changed the experiment and asked people to rate bowls of sauce instead. The results put participants into three categories: plain, spicy, and extra chunky. The extra chunky group was the most significant as “extra chunky” had not been previously highlighted. What the experiment demonstrated was that people are unique and very different and that “in embracing the diversity of human beings, we will find a true way to happiness.”
Being the leader in a start-up can be one of the most consuming things a person can ever do. It’s all too easy to spend the day in the office and then the evening on the sofa doing all that you couldn’t throughout the day. You should expect your work/life balance to suffer a little, but work should not eat away every hour of your waking day.
Nigel Marsh is a marketing expert with a special interest in maintaining a healthy work/life balance and he has given an excellent TED talk on this very subject. “With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.” Nigel emphasises the importance of small, incremental changes that don’t involve a huge upheaval to your regular schedule. Achieving a good work/life balance is about reducing stress and having more time for the important, non-work areas of life. Big changes in your routine will only bring more stress!
“With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.”
Presented by Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist, the full title of the teal was “The optimism bias: a tour of the irrationally positive brain.” Her hypothesis is simple: people are innately programmed to look at the brighter side of life. According to her research, 80% of the world have an optimism bias, stating that “Private optimism about our own personal future remains persistent. And it doesn't mean that we think things will magically turn out okay, but rather that we have the unique ability to make it so.” Her theory is that our innate optimism will lead to success - a self-fulfilling prophecy - however, one must be mindful of the risk associated with successful behaviour. Successful entrepreneurs understand how to balance optimism, risk, and business success. Can you?
TED talks are a great way of motivating yourself to become better at leading a successful career. Although most of the topics are not always directed at your personal line of work i.e recruitment, there’s a lot to be learned from these thought leaders. How can you become better at time-keeping? What are the measures you need to be taking to become a great team lead? Highlight your strengths and identify your weaknesses in areas that you need help with and then scroll through TED’s library and guarantee you will find a solution to help you take it to the next level.
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