What better way to enjoy the holiday season than to unwrap a surprise? Just like peeling open a gift box, you never know quite what to expect when watching a management TED Talk. Get your eggnog ready and get comfortable because you’re about to have your assumptions challenged. Enjoy these “gifts” and consider sharing them with professionals in your network.
Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work
This video will challenge how you think about the workplace environment we all take for granted: our buildings, office, desks, computer equipment, and meeting places. We ask our employees to come to the office every day, believing we have created the most ideal conditions possible for productivity.
Yet, Jason Fried, author of bestselling business book Rework and co-founder of 37-signals/Basecamp, argues that “…the front door of the office is like a Cuisinart. You walk in and your day is shredded to bits.” The real problems are what Fried calls the M&Ms—the managers and the meetings. Yes, you’ve suspected it all along… there is a point at which too many meetings and too much management results in diminished returns in productivity and quality of work.
The office as we know it doesn’t define work from this point forward. It is only our current paradigm; it differs greatly from what work environments looked like in the distant past, and likely differs even more from what we may see in the near future. Is everything we associate with “the office” necessary for good work to get done, and are these things sufficient? Whether you have questioned the current paradigm or always accepted it as necessary, this TED Talk will challenge your perspective.
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts
A third to a half of the population are introverts, according to corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant Susan Cain. Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts, explains how workplaces (not to mention countless other institutions) are primarily designed to attract and retain extroverts. In fact, our culture has a bias toward favoring extroverts, even though introverts can be some of our most talented employees—and bring capabilities that are lacking in many organizations. If you find yourself being WOWed more often by extroverts when you’re interviewing candidates or determining which employees are worthy of raises and promotions, this TED Talk may give you a new appreciation for introverts.
Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal begins this talk in intriguing fashion… “…I fear that something I’ve been teaching for the last 10 years is doing more harm than good, and it has to do with stress. For years I’ve been telling people, stress makes you sick. It increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. Basically, I’ve turned stress into the enemy. But I have changed my mind about stress, and today, I want to change yours.”
If you’re managing employees, you’re also managing stress levels, which means you’re managing employees under an assumption—stress is necessarily unhealthy—that has been recently proven false. Now the science says “When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress,” and McGonigal proves it with an audience demonstration and a mini lesson on the hormone, oxytocin. What you learn here will help you improve as a manager, by managing your employees’ stress response, rather than stress levels.
Use these videos to stimulate important discussions among your colleagues at work, and voice your impressions and concerns about these ideas on our Facebook page!