Continuing Ed

Four TED Talks for Collaborative Leaders

Meet your new lunch buddy, TED

If you’ve been on the web since the mid-aughts, you’ve surely stumbled upon a TED talk. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, and perhaps they’ll teach you something. These talks have one thing in common: They share uncliched messages for collaborative leaders. Lecturers from all walks of life--from scientists to business coaches--share a piece of the leadership puzzle. We’ve hand-selected these four videos to help you turn your #desklunch into an a-ha moment.

We’ve picked talks for when…


...You’re looking for wisdom on handling the disagreements that will inevitably arise in your work


Julia Dhar says she has loved arguing since childhood. She’s since parlayed that passion constructively into a title as a champion debater and as a strategy consultant for businesses. Learn a bit about why people think they’re right, even when they’re wrong, and how identifying common ground is the only way to truly “win” a disagreement.

Shining moment: “Our public conversations, even our private disagreements, can be transformed by debating ideas, rather than discussing identity. And then, the thing that debate allows us to do as human beings is open ourselves, really open ourselves up to the possibility that we might be wrong. The humility of uncertainty.”

“Julia Dhar - How to Disagree Productively”


...You’re bringing new collaborators into the fold


Dr. Amy Edmondson has studied teams for decades, and teaches her findings to business students at Harvard’s Business School as Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management. She has embedded with organizations in emergent settings (like the rescue of the trapped miners in Chile) and business settings (including Disney and Unilever), and has observed common threads in the conditions under which teams are able to gel and perform. One of they keys? Overcoming what she calls “professional culture clash.” “Clash” makes it sound like a fight, but it really means people who work toward the same goal but don’t speak one another’s language or even value the same things. Sound familiar? Luckily, the antidote is relatively simple: a healthy dose of curiosity.

Shining moment: “In our silos, we can get things done. But when we step back and reach out and reach across, miracles can happen.”

"How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team"


...You’re working to develop a culture that encourages member engagement


Simon Sinek is a management theorist with a devoted following thanks to his ability to clearly and memorably articulate lessons that are modern takes on conventional leadership wisdom. In this talk, Sinek addresses creating workplaces where employees feel safe taking the risks required for great outcomes.

Shining moment: “When we feel safe inside the organization, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to face the dangers outside and seize the opportunities.”

"Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe"


...It’s time to get creative with your collaborative problem-solving


Your collaborative might have more in common with the Pixar team than you think. Dr. Linda Hill, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, wants you to rethink how you lead innovative teams. She’s studied the work of creative teams at Pixar and Google, and has distilled down three unique skills required to “lead innovation.” Veteran collaboratives are innovators; you convene in order to solve problems that no system or organization is able to solve alone. The systems changes that you collectively influence, then, fit Dr. Hill’s definition of innovation: “anything that is new and useful.” This talk will enrich your perspective on leadership, and challenge whether visionary leadership is appropriate for collaborative work. 

Shining moment: “What we know is, at the heart of innovation is a paradox. You have to unleash the talents and passions of many people and you have to harness them into a work that is actually useful.”

"How to Manage for Collective Creativity"