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Watch These 12 TED Talks To Inspire Your Success

Watch These 12 TED Talks To Inspire Your Success

You feel like you’re wasting your talent. You always knew you had a potential, but somehow you could not exploit it. You developed your passion, but could not continue because you could not maintain patience or you lost motivation.

Let’s face it – people are also not always supportive, especially when someone goes against the norm. There are many entrepreneurs out there who had a great idea that other people thought was crazy.

In the last 50 years, some really interesting products have emerged “as seen on TV.” From Suzanne Somers’ “Thigh Master” to the “Veg-o-matic” to the “Perfect Bacon Bowl,” I’m sure these entrepreneurs gave people a lot of laughs with their idea. But imagine if the people who invented these listened to other people’s criticism. They would not have been successful.

If you are confident about your idea, you just need to continue pursuing it and not listen to anybody who wants to take you down. Who knows – you might invent next best thing since sliced bread. Here below are 12 TED Talk Episodes you should watch to get inspired to chase your One Crazy Dream.

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1. How to get your ideas to spread (Seth Godin)

In this video, marketing Heavyweight Seth Godin explains why weird and bizarre ideas are easier to catch people’s attention with than  boring ones. Our product is only as good as the idea that we are spreading, so we should be remarkable and willing to spread the word.

2. The happy secret to better work (Shawn Achor)

You are going to laugh until you cry. This speech starts with Shawn Achor convincing his younger sister that when she fell off the bunk bed and crash landed on floor, and incidentally broke her leg, that she landed like a unicorn and therefore she was a unicorn.

She so wanted to believe this and was so happy, that she ignored her pain and climbed back up onto the bed. Through his metaphors and anecdotes, Shawn Achor has found the funniest way to explain the art of achieving happiness.

3. Lessons in creativity (Julie Bernstein)

In this video, Radio Host Julie Berstein shares her precious four steps on how to create in the face of challenge. She illustrates how important creativity is in all professional careers, not just art forms, and that everyone is somehow an artist.

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4. The power of introverts (Susan Cain)

In a world where being outgoing is supposed to be the best trait to succeed, being an introvert is difficult, even shameful and annoying at times. Susan Cain argues in her intense talk that introverts bring a different breed of talents and skills and should be encouraged,and being an introvert could really be a blessing in disguise.

5. Dare to disagree (Margaret Heffernan)

There are times that we deeply disagree with the logic or ideas presented to us, but we are reluctant to argue because it is a human nature to back away from conflict.

In this video, Margaret Heffernan shows us that good opposing arguments are vital parts of the process, and introduce us to the world of passionate disagreement. She argues that we need ideas at odds with our own if we are to discover our assumptions and biases.

6. How great leaders inspire action (Simon Sinek)

With examples of ultra-successes like Apple, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Wright brothers, Simon Sinek explains how leaders inspire actions, beginning with the bases of all complex questions: why and what.

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If we are to inspire and motivate people around us, we should start by looking for an answer to the purpose that makes us wake every morning beginning with simple questions like why and what.

7. Are we in control of our decisions? (Dan Ariely)

Being rational is not an option, it’s a need these days. But do we think as rational as we think we do? Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely uses visual illusions and his own outlandish research outcomes to prove that we might not be the rational thinker we assume we are.

8. Draw your future – Take control of your life (Patti Dobrowolski)

In this Ted Talk, speaker Patti Dobrowolski graphically explains the differences between what you are and what you want to be with sketches and colors. She is able to show how good living the dream can be as she sheds light on three simple steps to achieve it.

9. Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce (Malcolm Gladwell)

Widely revered inspirational writer Malcom Gladwell is fascinated by the food industry’s obsession with spaghetti sauce, and makes a broader argument about our choices of actions and happiness.

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10. Trial, error and the God complex (Tim Harford)

An economics writer by profession, Tim Harford studies complex systems and finds odd links between successful people and how coherent trials and errors shaped them into the way they are today. Tim Harfold urges people to accept their entropy and start making mistakes with purpose.

11. Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs (Cameron Herold)

In this age where children are taught to be respectable professionals like doctors, engineers and architects, there are many who just don’t get it.

“Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: this child might be an entrepreneur,” says Cameron Herold. He makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish.

12. Secrets of success in 8 words, 3 minutes (Richard St. John)

Are successful people special or just lucky? Richard St. John condenses his hours of interviews in three minutes about the real ingredients of success. His few words have so much that can be taken away and be applied to entrepreneurial endeavors.

Featured photo credit: Dan Ariely speaking at TED Talk (Wikimedia) via upload.wikimedia.org

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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