Tag Archives: leadership

The question: “Why?”


What makes a company great? It isn’t just profitability or growth. There are many companies that achieve both of those, yet still remain mired in negativity or conflict. And, what makes a great leader? It isn’t just managerial skills, it’s something that goes beyond, something that inspires and resonates with people – especially customers.

In this TED Talk, Simon Sinek attempts to answer the question of ‘why’ and explain how great leaders inspire action. His concept: the golden circle. At the center of the golden circle is the answer to the ‘why’ question.

Every organization knows ‘what’ it does, but very few know ‘why’. Making a profit isn’t enough to answer ‘why’ – profit is a result, not a purpose. The ‘why’ needs to focus on the purpose, the cause, and the beliefs. It should be why we get out of bed in the morning and attempt to make a difference in the world. People don’t necessarily buy ‘what’ you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by asking students to define what makes a company great. Ask students if there are companies that they will not shop at – and ask why. On the other side, ask if there are companies that they will shop at – and ask why. What makes these companies different?
  2. Discuss the importance of leadership in organizations and how having a clear mission, vision, and values impacts organizations.
  3. Show the video: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
  4. Following the video, divide students into teams. Have each team review the mission/vision/values of an organization of their choosing. (Good companies for this are Tom’s Shoes, Warby Parker, and Quirky.)
  5. Next, have the teams write mission/vision/values for a new company.
  6. Write the statements on the board and discuss the implications to the organization and to its customers.

Source: Ted.com

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TED’s 2013 Ads Worth Spreading


We tend to think the only purpose of advertising is to sell products. And for the most part, that is true. However, profit is not the only reason to create innovative ads; advertising can also be created to help highlight issues and address societal change.

TED’s third “Ads Worth Spreading” challenge was designed to celebrate ads that communicate ideas in an exceptionally powerful way. “Ads Worth Spreading” is TED’s initiative to recognize and reward innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising — to highlight the ads that people want to see and share with their friends.

Ads were nominated by six teams of two – made up of one renowned TED speaker and one rising star from the advertising industry – and 25 TED advocates from the ad industry. The members searched worldwide for compelling ads from diverse areas of interest: Talk, Social Good, Cultural Compass, Creative Wonder, Brand Bravery and Education.

Watch the 10 winning videos and be prepared to rethink the use of advertising to help the world become a better place.

(PS – This blog has featured several of the winning ads in previous months.)

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Bring up the ads: http://www.ted.com/watch/ads-worth-spreading . Show one of the videos.
2. The full report can be downloaded from the site.
3. Divide students into teams and have each team select a different ad to analyze.
4. Each team should prepare a quick briefing describing the key elements that make the ad worth spreading.
5. Discuss how these elements could be applied to other products and companies.

Source: Ted.com, various news outlets

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The Top 20 TED Talks Videos

8Nearly every college student and professor is familiar with TED Talks and its famous videos and speakers who cover topics ranging including global business, happiness, medicine, technology, joy, workers, innovation, science, biology, psychology, and much more. After all, TED is “dedicated to ideas worth spreading.”

But have you ever wondered which ideas have been spread the most widely from six years of TED Talks online videos? Which videos spark our interest the most?

Here is a list of the top 20 most-watched TED Talks. Go to http://blog.ted.com/2012/08/21/the-20-most-watched-ted-talks-to-date/ for the rest of the list and for links to these thought-provoking talks.

  1. Sir Ken Robinson – schools kill creativity.
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor – stoke of insight.
  3. Pranav Mistry – the thrilling potential of Sixth Sense.
  4. David Gallo – underwater astonishments.
  5. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry – demonstrate Sixth Sense.
  6. Tony Robbins – why we do what we do.
  7. Simon Sinek – how great leaders inspire action.
  8. Brene Brown – the power of vulnerability.
  9. Steve Jobs – how to live before you die.
  10. Daniel Pink – the surprising science of motivation.
  11. Hans Rosling – the best stats you’ve ever seen.
  12. Elizabeth Gilbert – nurturing your creative genius.
  13. Arthur Benjamin – does mathemagic.
  14. Mary Roach – 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm.
  15. Dan Gilbert – why are we happy.
  16. Keith Barry – does brain magic.
  17. Stephen Hawking – big questions about the universe.
  18. Johnny Lee – Wii remote hacks for educators.
  19. Jeff Han – demonstrates his breakthrough multi-touchscreen.
  20. Barry Schwartz – explores the paradox of choice.

What TED Talks videos top your list?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up www.TED.com and show a video that appeals to you. Prepare a handout to guide students in the video; include several questions that they can answer in group discussion.
  2. College students love TED Talks. Professors are sometimes surprised at the variety of subjects students seek out on TED. For this activity, divide students into teams and have each team select a topic to search on TED.
  3. Have each team select a video to show the class.
  4. Each team should prepare a sheet with at least five questions. The answers to the question are in the video. As students watch the video, they analyze and prepare answers to the questions for class discussion.
  5. Do this exercise for several weeks, perhaps over the length of the semester. Each week, a new team can present their video.

Source:  TedTalks.com

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