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TED Talks For the Career-Minded

All the world’s a TED Talk stage so you’ll do your career a favour by getting a front-row seat to these mind-blowing presentations. Take our word for it, there’s a helluva lot of wisdom in these three videos. See for yourself: 

Yves Morieux: How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done

Why is productivity at the office so disappointing despite vast improvements in technology and enormous investments in leadership programmes? Too many rules, KPIs, metrics, boxes for people to stay in, says Yves Morieux of the Boston Consulting Group.

In this insightful TED Talk, Morieux offers six ways to return our work environments to the realm of the uncomplex — by keeping things simple and empowering people to use their brains.

Why is this talk important? Either you’re going to be a manager someday or you’ll be working for one. If you’re the one calling the shots, it’s extremely useful if you understand how to manage in an increasingly complex world.

And as an employee the comparison between obsolete approaches to management and modern management as espoused by Morieux will help you figure out the work environment that’s right for you long before you accept an offer.

Margaret Heffernan: Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work

Business leader and author Margaret Heffernan delivers yet another striking message about how much leeway the best and brightest people in organisations are given when they are consistently outperformed by average teams who regularly help each other.

No doubt, you’ve come across these stars at your office, “superchickens” as Heffernan calls them. Often, their productivity soars only because they are given the best resources.

The lesson for you here is this: think carefully about the kind of company you want to work for. If it’s one where “superchickens” are valued more than anyone else, you may find yourself circumscribed by outsized egos, starved of resources you need.

On the other hand, you could go for a job where social cohesion among teams is insisted upon. Where management promotes a culture of people helping people.

It’s this, the research shows, that produces the best results, something to consider even if you’re at the stage where you’re just sending out applications.

The way to get ahead, the way to hit your stride, may not be to compete after all. It may be to help others. You’ll want to work where this culture is the norm.

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

I remember the day I landed a job at a big telecoms. Nothing could prepare me for the elation, the pompous employee badge, the co-branded Republic Bank credit card, the approval of friends, the salary.

But within two months I was the most miserable person within 10 miles of Port-of-Spain. Everything about the company, I thought, was too much.

You realise what the problem was, of course? I simply embraced negative psychology. My brain had shaped my reality. I was no longer happy once I’d swapped out the optimism I had when I joined the company for a lens which magnified the negatives about working there.

Watch this video. Shawn Achor’s wit and candor will teach you a thing or two about the secret to real happiness, invoking science to prove his theory that the brain can’t process the notion that we first need to be successful in order to be happy.

“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present,” says Achor, “then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage.”

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