Ever since sports camp in 3rd grade we are all well aware we can only succeed if we act as a team. But when it comes to teaming up at work, somehow the ball just won’t get rolling as easily. One major opponent to teamwork is a very common leadership culture that doesn’t encourage true sportsmanship and collaboration.
Tackling this dilemma, we picked 7 Ted Talks that offer new inspiration and models of success from various fields – even from the animal kingdom. That’s right, there’s a lot we can learn from ants and chicken.
1. Linda Hill: How to manage for collective creativity
What’s the secret to unlocking the creativity hidden inside your daily work, and giving every great idea a chance? Harvard professor Linda Hill, co-author of “Collective Genius,” has studied some of the world’s most creative companies to come up with a set of tools and tactics to keep great ideas flowing — from everyone in the company, not just the designated “creatives.”
2. Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex
Throughout history, author Matt Ridley claims, the meeting and mating of ideas, in order to create new ideas, has been the engine of all human progress.
3. Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from
People tend to credit their ideas to individual “Eureka!” moments. But Steven Johnson shows that history paints a different picture. Tag along with Steven Johnson, as he takes you on a fascinating history tour from the ‘fluid networks’ of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s slow hunch to today’s high-velocity networks.
4. Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team
Trustingly falling blindfolded into each other’s arms and similar team building measures may not be suitable for everyone and may often miss its purpose. Tom Wujec presents surprising insights into the ‘Marshmallow Problem’ – a simple team taks involving 1m tape, dry spaghetti and a marshmallow.
5. David Grady: How to save the world (or atleast yourself) from bad meetings
Grady has a dream. A dream of a collaborative future, where noone calls for a 12-person conference to carry out a status check that could easily be done via email.
6. Deborah Gordon – The emergent genius of ant colonies
Without language, memory and visible leadership, ants manage to get down to business and even multitask. In order to study their complex system, Deborah Gordon studied ant colonies in the arizona desert. Her surprising answers may lead to a better understanding of all complex systems.
7. Margaret Heffernan: Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work
Talking about models from the animal kingdom, organizations often run according to the ‘superchicken model’ where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. But Heffernan observes that it is actually social cohesion that drives most high-performance teams. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader.