5 Great TED Talks About Organizational Change

Organizational Change TED Talks

  • Nilofer Merchant: Got a Meeting? Take a Walk
  • Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work
  • Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit
  • General Stanley McChrystal: Listen, Learn… Then Lead
  • Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

Organizational change is a hot topic in the business world. From entrepreneurs to billionaire business moguls, everyone is interested in improving productivity through efficiency, in finding new ways to motivate employees, and in finding new and better ways to manage affairs. As we head into the 21st century, a greater focus on environmentally-friendly policies and transparent business practices has produced additional impetus to cast traditional organizational schematics aside in favor of something fresh.

One of the great resources regarding innovative and outside-the-box management solutions is the huge body of recorded videos produced through TED Talks. These talks involve widely recognized and highly accredited experts in their fields, who share their accumulated knowledge and wisdom with the viewing audience. Here are five great TED talks about organizational change, presenting new and interesting perspectives on a wide range of management and human resources issues.

Nilofer Merchant: Got a Meeting? Take a Walk

There is a new concept in workplace culture, although on closer inspection it's more of a rebranding. Walking meetings are an age-old part of executive commercial and governmental practice, even if they weren't recognized as having a certain impact unto themselves. People think better on their feet; demonstrably, a walking meeting encourages the free exchange of ideas, which people might normally keep to themselves for fear of ridicule. Nilofer's TED talk focuses on applying this concept to the level of everday organizational meetings, by way of reducing anxiety, and improving overall productivity.

Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

There is a widespread culture of the acceptance of misery in the workplace, and in the face of that several important ideas have largely been cast aside. Shawn reminds us of a simple fact: if a person appears miserable at their job, every day, they most likely are exactly as they appear. Misery reduces performance and efficiency. It makes a person less happy at home, which leads to a downward spiral wherein workplace performance suffers more over time. Shawn puts a fine point on this, and explores ways to help improve overall employee happiness, increasing productivity and retaining loyal employees for longer periods of time.

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit

Intelligence and innovation are valuable, but there are other qualities within an organization that cause certain people to rise to the top, with the result being an overall benefit. Angela discusses the value of grit, that personal quality that compels a person to stick to their guns, and be involved for the long haul, regardless of how challenging an initiative becomes. This quality is valuable, not only to establishing and maintaining new dynamics within an organization, but to ensuring long-term retention of high-performance employees.

General Stanley McChrystal: Listen, Learn… Then Lead

Drawing on an expansive background of varied experience, dealing with a diverse range of subordinates and employees through a wide variety of circumstances, Stan presents an organizational TED talk about how to bond with and relate to your employees. The point of focus lies on doing so despite different ages, personal backgrounds, and areas of ability, and using this ability to connect with people to encourage them to focus collectively on goals that are important to the organization as a whole.

Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

Dan's presentation on the subject of employee motivation goes into finer detail with something that most employers already know, but which far too many refuse to act upon: the fact that, more than a few extra bucks in each paycheck, employees are profoundly motivated by a sense of purpose. He shares his ideas and experiences regarding how to efficiently provide for a greater sense of purpose across the board, without having to focus on individual, relatively expensive incentives quite so heavily.

Using TED Talks to generate ideas for organizational change is, essentially, taking advantage of previously inaccessible information to improve your business. The level of information provided is comparable to that provided by world-class consulting professionals, and those who aren't in attendance at the presentations themselves (while deprived of the opportunity to engage one-on-one with the presenters) have free access to this information online. There is no reason not to take advantage of it, and it may make the difference between success and failure of an organization.

See also: Top 20 Cheap Online Master's in Management and Leadership Degree Programs