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7 Must-Watch TED Talks for Project Management Professionals

As I was browsing through TED talks about productivity improvement, better team management and leadership videos, I stumbled upon some of the amazing TED talks. TED talks are quite popular. And project managers are typically expected to be on the forefront of new framework, processes improvement, technology evolution curve hence many of you might already know about TED Talks. For starters and some of you who do not know what TED is, here is a quick introduction

TED talks for project management professionals

TED: Technology Education and Design

TED stands for Technology Education and Design. TED is a nonprofit initiative dedicated to spreading ideas, typically in the form of short, powerful talks recorded for the benefit of larger audience. It covers large array of topics such as science, culture, academic and business among many others. Usually the speaker at the TED events are passionate, renowned in their areas. In the past we have seen political figures, celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, David Cameron, Bill Gates, Bono, Larry Page, etc.

TED Talks For Project Management Professionals: Project Managers, Project Leads

As a project management professionals, one always need to learn how s/he can lead a team better, handle crisis like situation, manage stress, gain more productivity, articulate business proposition, foster collaboration, etc. Some of the TED talks, I found are very useful in this context.

Of course you are most welcome to watch them all but you don’t have to watch them all -t-once. You can click on the topic of your choice from the list given below and watch whenever you have 10 -15 minutes of time. Now let’s look at them.

[Managing Team] Build a Tower, Build a Team: Tom Wujec (00:07:22)

Just 7 minutes long, watching this TED talk by Tom Wujec’s ‘Build a Tower, Build a Team’ gives us pretty interesting insight on teams and team building. Tom Wujec is a fellow at Autodesk a leading 3D design, engineering software company. In this TED Talk he has presented “marshmallow problem”, an easy-to-do team-building exercise. He talks about how/why does a unassuming group always beat the average ones?

[Team Collaboration] The new power of collaboration: Howard Rheingold (00:19:31)

Howard Rheingold is famous critic, thinker, writer who writes about social, cultural and political impacts of new edge communication/collaboration avenues/platforms. In this TED talk, Howard gives an example of Wikipedia and how it has become a real concept of our human natural instinct to work together as groups. Thus he also indicates the way forward of cooperation, collaboration, participative media and collective actions of humans. Such peer to peer collaboration can bring a economic evolution to our worlds.

[Cultivating Collaboration] Don’t Be So Defensive!: Jim Tamm (00:15:18)

Jim Tamm is a former judge and considered expert in building collaborative workplace environment. In this TED talk he argues that when we come across something RED, we get defensive. Interestingly he thinks that red zone is the most regressing and inhibiting element to true collaboration. However he further shares his years of experiences of getting out of red zone (which is more adversarial, conflicting and non-collaborative environment) and get into green zone (which is more collaborative, supportive environment).

[Managing Stress] How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed: Daniel Levity (00:12:20)

Daniel Levitin is well known American-Canadian neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist, writer. In this TED talk, Daniel shares with us rational thinking about dealing with stress. It can be true for most people that we are not at our best when we are stressed. Stressful situation limits our ability to think rationally. Daniel argues that there is a way is to preempt  critical mistakes which we would otherwise make in such stressful situation. He says “We all are going to fail now and then, the idea is to think ahead to what those failures might be.”

[Managing Stress] How to make stress your friend : Kelly McGonigal (00:14:28)

Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist known for her work in the field of ‘science help’ and lecturer at Stanford University, shares interesting research findings which shows that stress can have adverse/negative effect on your health only if you believe that it will. We need to learn ways, adopt strategies to reduce stress by changing our perspective and attitude towards stress so that we can turn it from a negative into a positive. One of the easier ways is to reach out to others..

[Leadership] What it takes to be a great leader: Roselinde Torres (00:09:20)

Roselinde Torres is a senior leader in the People & Organization practice at The Boston Consulting Group, specialises in leadership. In her career she experienced, observed truly great leaders at work. In her TED talks about ways to become a great leader. She shares three simple but important questions that the leadership should ask themselves to thrive in the future.

[Improving Productivity] The power of time off: Stefan Sagmeister (00:77:36)

Now I think, this is really out of the world. Having a schedule like this is just not everyone’s cup of team. So what is it really? Stefan Sagmeister is a designer in New York city. Every seven years he closes his studio and takes a year long sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.

Additional readings about project management, leadership

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I am a co-founder of Zilicus Solution and I write about project management, collaboration, productivity, project management software, cloud computing, requirement management and business empowerment.