TED Talks Leadership: 5 Videos You Need to Know

Jan 19, 2017

TED Talks Leadership: 5 Videos You Need to Know

TED Talks leadership videos do more than stir your curiosity. They’ve become a go-to for the leading ideas on where our world is heading. With thousands of videos to pore through, I wanted to offer you the 5 TED Talks I recommend to business leaders across the country.

I want to be clear in what you can expect from these videos. They might be easy to access and take only 20 minutes of your time, but some of these videos are life changing. They have short insights into vast, complicated ideas that connect the dots from what we thought we knew — to what is really happening now.

1. Start with “Start with Why

I’ve talked about Simon Sinek in this blog before, for good reason. In his first TED Talk, Sinek demonstrates how companies grow to success. To build a brand people want to buy, Sinek introduces a very clear concept: Start with why. The idea Sinek repeats is that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. From Apple and Nike to the failed Tivo brand, Sinek makes you rethink what makes marketing and sales successful. 

2. Don’t worry. Be happy.

You might not have heard of Shawn Achor, but you’ve certainly heard about the two things he talks most frequently about: success and happiness. In this TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Success,” Achor talks about the crucial correlation you might have missed. It’s this: Success does not make anyone happy. Instead, it’s happiness that makes you successful. If you don’t break out of that former, more common mindset, you may never find the happiness you’re looking for.

3. 5 Talks to Help You Manage Stress

Speaking of feeling happier, these five blog posts can help. What they share in common is that they help you reduce your own stress. The five talks are ranked by the ones with the most views, so you’ll want to start with “How to Make Stress Your Friend,” with just over 600 reviews as of this posting. The skills you’ll learn here are to reach out to people, to lessen the burden of the stress you feel. In fact, most of these posts will teach you a coping mechanism. Tips include getting more sun and finding your peaceful mindset.

4. Learn How to Learn with Sugata Mitra

Sugata Mitra studies how humans learn, and he goes to our biggest pool of learners: children. In “Kids Can Teach Themselves,” Mitra explains and shows how kids in a tiny Indian town self-organized to learn and teach each other how to use a computer, which Mitra had left in the town with no instructions. The point of the exercise seems to be that groups of peers are able to teach themselves. Given a tool with no instructions, groups of peers will learn and educate themselves. So if you oversee a bunch of teams, this video is definitely worth watching.

It’s one of the most profound TED Talks I’ve ever seen.
Ray Grainger, Mavenlink CEO

5. Brush Up on the Full History of Man

Yuval Noah Harari put together the briefest history of humans possible and called it Sapiens. In his book-turned-TED-Talk, “What Explains the Rise of Humans?” Harari breaks down how an animal so insignificant as human beings once were became the dominant planetary species. The book is really long, but you can get through the TED Talk in about 17 minutes, and as Mavenlink CEO Ray Grainger said, “It’s one of the most profound TED Talks I’ve ever seen.”

Editors Note: The original version of this post was published in April, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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