Don’t you just love the TED (ted.com) organisation? Having instant access to the world’s thought leaders for FREE has provided benefits to many millions of people all over the world.
As an avid consumer of the product, I would like to thank both TED and every presenter who has ever taken the time to share their idea worth spreading. It certainly helps to keep the standard high.
I wanted to say a big thank you to a few people in particular who have helped me solve a really big problem recently. I will mention them shortly, but first the background story.
About 2 years ago, we started looking into how organisations were going about measuring and improving performance in the workplace. To say that I didn’t have a clue about the can of worms I was about to open is an understatement. And the little buggers can wriggle fast!
There are so many different opinions about how to improve workplace ‘performance’. Coming from a background in online research surveys, we started looking at employee survey processes, which quickly expanded to include topics like employee engagement, communication, and measurement. I read a lot of articles, and in doing so opened many more cans of worms.
What is interesting to me is that after 40 years of talking about Employee Engagement and Performance, there are many different opinions about how to best achieve it.
Not long after, I remember being at a barbeque chatting with friends when the topic of ‘best TED talk’ came up (everyone talks about this at BBQ’s, right?). We rattled through the familiar names as well as a few other lesser-known but equally interesting presentations.
That night, I went to bed as normal. For those of you who are aware of the power of your unconscious mind as you sleep, you would know that ideas tend to be an unconscious connection between several bits of information that suddenly jumps into your conscious awareness (Aha!). When you are relaxed and willing to listen, the Aha moments simply arrive. They did for me. I woke up the next morning to the sound of a very big penny dropping right beside me. This is what my mind connected:
Simon Sinek (How great leaders inspire action). ‘Why’ is really important. A performance system should constantly reinforce the organisation’s Purpose/Mission.
Dr Ken Robertson (Do schools kill creativity). Embracing a person’s creativity is immensely powerful. A performance system should go beyond simply enforcing the ‘way things are done around here’.
Dan Pink (The surprising truth about motivation). Given that Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose are true motivators, a performance system starts by hiring people who really want to do the role.
Brene Brown (The power of vulnerability). Humans are neurologically wired for ‘connection’. A performance system should allow people to be vulnerable, and avoid shame and fear.
Carol Dweck (The power of believing that you can improve). One of my favourites, about the power of ‘not yet’. A performance system should foster a growth mindset.
Shaun Achor (The happy secret to better work). The things that make us happy are often free. A performance system should include non-tangible factors which contribute to a productive environment for all.
Apollo Robbins (The art of misdirection). Our brains are incredibly brilliant, but we are easily distracted. A performance system should continuously direct attention towards what is important.
In addition to the many articles I read and people I directly spoke with, it was these 7 TED talks which provided the inspiration for what we developed into the performance ‘system’ which changed the way we worked. It worked so well that we decided to turn it into a product (now known as EmployeeLife) which does 3 things: connects everyone to ‘the things that matter’, encourages regular dialogue between people who need to speak, and visualises progress (including the ability for individuals to track the progress of their personal goals!).
TED was where i got my inspiration from, so i ask, what has inspired you?
Jason Buchanan – General Manager; Insights & Innovation