One of my personal favorite innovations in recent years is the TED Talk. They are bite-sized sources of brilliance - a smorgasbord of stimulation - a mezze of motivation!
I've assembled a list of TED Talks that all PMO Professionals must watch. They are all under 20 minutes long, so there are no excuses. Happy watching!
#1 Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership and effective communication. He introduces the concept of the 'golden circle' and explains why most of the reports your PMO are producing are probably not quite hitting the spot. Simon draws on a diverse range of references, Martin Luther King, to Apple, to the Wright brothers. This TED talk has changed the way I present information and communicate to my exec team - and it will do the same for you.
#2 Margaret Heffernan - Forget the Pecking Order At Work
Businesses often run to "the superchicken model," where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. In this talk Margaret explains why this model is ineffective and points to social cohesion being the driver for better results. Margaret's talk resonates with the PMO model where the PMO team works across silos, bringing teams together and improving communication. The TED site describes it as a 'radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader'. Here at HotPMO! we think it does a good job of codifying and articulating an approach that mature PMO teams are already using to drive business value.
#3 Tom Wujec – Build A Tower Build A Team
Surprisingly deep insight into what at first glance appears to be a simple game for children. Tom Wujec presents his analysis of the "marshmallow problem" — a simple team-building exercise to see who can build the tallest tower using spaghetti, sticky tape and a marshmallow. I have used the Marshmallow game several times in real life to demonstrate the benefit of using an iterative delivery model over a big-bang approach. If they haven't seen the TED Talk already, this could be a great experiment to try with your project management teams.
#4 David McCandless - The Beauty Of Data Visualization
David McCandless takes complex data-sets and turns them into beautiful diagrams that help us discover patterns and connections that may not otherwise be obvious. The art of compressing large amounts of data into an easily digestible - and actionable format is a challenge that all PMOs are faced with. McCandless asserts good design as the best way to navigate the glut of information and peppers his presentation with some great examples that could be utilized by PMOs and Portfolio teams. The balloon race model is a particular favorite of mine, and can easily be converted into a model for assessing the relative value of different projects or initiatives.
#5 Itay Talgam - Lead like the great conductors
I've often heard PMO leaders describe themselves as conductors - uniting resources from different areas of the business to make beautiful music (aka delivering value). Not all conductors are alike however. In this talk Itay Telgam looks at the styles of six of the 20th centuries greatest conductors - and what leaders can learn from them.
#6 Shawn Achor - The Happy Secret To Better Work
I'm sure most of my readers would agree that PMOs play an important role in delivering projects. But would PMOs be more effective if they focused instead on increasing the happiness of employees? In this funny and and inspiring talk, Achor explains how companies can raise success rates and profitability by increasing the happiness of workers. Maybe happiness is a metric all PMOs should be tracking?
Over to you! Which TED talks have inspired you and your PMO? Share your favorite TED talks in the comments section below and tell us how they have inspired your PMO. One lucky commentor will receive a copy of Simon Sinek's book 'Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action' by the end of September!