I don’t remember ever doing a post like this. But, I’ve recently been thinking about and discussing with a client the topic of innovative leadership. As in what makes an innovative leader. And if you aren’t one, what do you need to do to become one.
With that said, here are a few TED talks that I think will helps us become the leaders of the future. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Yesterday I went to TEDex TijuanaSalon at Cety’s University in Tijuana. While three of the four speakers talked about entrepreneurship, it was the speaker in a video from a previous TED that got the most applause. The people who organized the event apparently wanted to add more content and so decided to play Simon Sinek’s video for the audience.
Simon Sinek wasn’t there in the flesh, but his talk about how great leaders inspire action was by far the best talk everyone got to see yesterday. Anyways, I thought it would be great to revisit the main message of his talk: People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.
In the above video, designer Thomas Thwaites recounts how he set out to build a toaster by himself. That meant doing everything from mining ore for steel and then melting it, to making the plastic case. In conclusion he says that it takes an entire civilization to build a toaster. No doubt it makes a great case that it takes a team to innovate.
We must not overlook the lone inventor either, though they are a rarity. And most know how to create but not how to commercialize and that’s where a group of people come in.
A few days ago I wrote about how Zappos has broken the rule that a business exists purely to make profits. They’ve designed their business model around the concept of ‘happiness’ and have made it clear that the customer IS their business. The idea is driven that by making their employees happy it further drives customer happiness. It’s common sense but we, as consumers, can’t really say that other businesses look after our well being.
But what about pre-Zappos, is there another business that does business to deliver happiness?
Enter hotelier Chip Conley. In the video above he talks about how he designed his business model based on happiness. He talks about how he was inspired, to question the truth that businesses were made to profit, by a vietnamese woman named Vivian whom he met after he bought the motel where she worked as a maid. After noticing that Vivian did her work with joy, he began to question: How can someone find joy in brushing toilets for a living?
Because of her attitude towards service. She felt her job was to make not only guests happy but also her fellow employees. Sound familiar?
Like I mentioned on my previous post:
The universal truth is that no brand really cares about YOU, they care about your buying power. With such a dominant assumption (rule) why is it that businesses don’t choose to break it?
Well as you can see from the above talk, Zappos isn’t a one time phenomenon and business can be driven by ‘happiness’. What’s needed is a change in mindset, that profit is result of two forces:
Happy employees + Happy customers = profitable business
The ‘think and act like a kid’ theme continues and rightly so. Here’s a one of them, 12 year old Adora Svitak telling the educated grown ups at TED that they have much to learn from kids…worth watching!