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Six inspiring TED Talks for founders and CEOs

Get an edge over your competitors!

Paul Surtees Oct 23, 2019

As business owners, we’re always looking for ways to learn and improve the way we work and lead. TED Talks can help by giving us access to a world of entrepreneurial education and inspiration. TED offers 2,500 talks on almost any subject, including many on business and entrepreneurship.

Below, we’ve chosen our top six talks that can give any business leader an edge over their competitors.


Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Author and speaker Sinek gives his thoughts on how to become an inspirational leader in the workplace.

Sinek asks important questions about what motivates us to create and run a business. If we understand this motivation more clearly, we stand a better chance of growing our business.

Simon says: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”


General Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn ... then lead

Four-star General McChrystal learnt all of his skills on the battlefield and, whilst he isn’t an entrepreneur, the lessons he shares in this passionate talk can teach us much about how we should be interacting with colleagues.

McChrystal talks about communication and leadership as being vital to any company’s success. If you’re a business leader, his words should serve as a lesson as to how you should be leading from the top and setting an example for staff to follow.

Stanley says: “Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure.”


Tony Robbins: Why We Do What We Do

Inspirational life coach Tony Robbins breaks down the "invisible forces" behind all of our actions, so that we can contribute more to society and to the workplace.

Always full of passion, Robbins, like Sinek, looks at the reasons why we do what we do, analysing the emotions behind the decisions we take in life and in business.

Tony says: “Most think the 'past equals the future.' But that’s so far from true. Because decision is the ultimate power.”


Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

One the best known and most popular TED Talks of all time, Facebook's COO examines why there are so few women in powerful positions in business and investigates the sensitive subject of gender inequality that still exists right at the top of the corporate ladder.

She concludes her talk with three priceless pieces of advice that women can use when attempting to navigate the world of business. This is a powerful call to action from one of technology’s most prominent role models.

Sheryl says: "No one gets to the top, if they sit on the sidelines, or if they don't believe in themselves."


Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why startups succeed

Gross is a serial entrepreneur who analysed over 200 companies to see if he could discover what the key reason was that the inevitably large number of them that failed. His answer? Timing.

Other factors — like staff, product, business model — matter. But, in this short, sharp talk, Gross advises entrepreneurs to think hard about whether it's exactly the right moment to launch their business.

Bill says: “Execution definitely matters. The idea matters. But timing might matter even more. And the best way to assess timing is to really look at whether consumers are really ready for what you have to offer them. And to be really honest about it.”


Seth Godin: The tribes we lead

Marketing guru Godin sets out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are often more successful than boring ones, and why leaders should be aware of this fact above all else.

Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and change. He urges business leaders to do so, too.

Seth says: “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”


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