5 Ted Talks on People and Performance

We have a confession to make. We aren’t huge fans of the word performance. Like any word, it will spark different connotations for different people. For us, it feels stuffy, limiting and as if it’s referring to targets, rather than people. Interestingly, not long after we had this discussion in the office and decided to reduce its usage, we set about writing this article. And despite each topic relating to performance, each talk is far more human-centred than results-focused. They come second, as they should. Your people should always come first. Without them, there is no success.

Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe – Simon Sinek

Running Time: 12 minutes

In this wildly inspiring talk, world-renowned author Simon Sinek looks at how your work environment impacts your people. He explores what happens when leaders create the right kind of conditions for people to thrive, as well as when they do not. From building trust and an ethos of cooperation to giving feelings the mic for a moment over instructions, there is plenty of takeaway from this piece.

Why We Like It: Our software is all about supporting people in creating their ideal company culture in which they can thrive. It’s people led, understanding the vital role of having an environment where this can happen, and it’s great to see this reflected in this talk.

The Happy Secret to Better Work – Shawn Achor

Running Time: 12 minutes

Enjoy this fantastically delivered piece by Author and speaker Shawn Achor on how we need to ‘change the lens’ to achieve happiness and success in our work. Oozing with charisma and comedy, this is a captivating talk that will have laughing as much as learning and comes neatly wrapped up in the power of present positivity.

Why We Like It: We believe in reverse engineering our thinking so anything that supports changing your perspective, and the human-centred ways to create joy and success, we back, 100%.

Forget The Pecking Order At Work – Margaret Heffernan

Running Time: 16 minutes

Productivity and success are words synonymous with the business world. In this talk, however, writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan explore what makes some groups more successful than others. She also gives a greater insight to leaders on how to support these needs. Enjoy the social journey through the world of connection and believe it or not, chickens.

Why We Like It: One word, connectivity, it’s at the core of this talk and what we do. It makes the good in business possible.

The Way We Think About Work is Broken – Barry Schwartz

Running Time: 8 minutes

Here we let American Psychologist Barry Schwartz guides us through the concept of idea technology. Fascinatingly, he discusses the link between the design of human nature and our places of work, leaving us with much to contemplate.

Why We Like It: Our favourite part of this is the cogs turning after listening to it. There is big thinking, and then there is bigger again with this.

The Puzzle of Motivation – Dan Pink

Running Time: 18 minutes

One of the most popular Ted talks, this is the perfect piece to end our list. A talk endlessly supported in research, author Dan Pink discusses at length the failure of business to align with what science proves. He presents the new approach needed for the business world which focuses, he believes, on autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Why We Like It: This talk has stood the test of time. It’s an important reminder, especially for those born out of old business as well as for the new, what truly motivates people.


If you want to improve your business in this area,get in touch with us today, and we’ll show you how we can help.


(Cover image extract by Unitonevector – Freepik.com)