Quite often, when training or advising executives and politicians, I’m impressed by the impact, certain TED talks have on the creative and decisive process of these leaders. Both the discussed ideas and format really appeal to creating leaders and are sometimes significantly impacting the organisational thinking on how to create and capture value.

Below, the top 15 TED talks, where leaders indicated they not only got inspired, but also were used as starting point of a organizational dialogue.

1.    Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?

Behavioral economy Dan Ariely is arguing that money is not motivating the workforce, but giving meaning and purpose, that does it. In this amazing talk, he is giving several techniques for getting great work from your workers.

2.    Ricardo Semler – How to run a company with (almost) no rules

What would “work” look like if we threw out all the rules: the hours, the offices, the fixed salaries? Just ask Ricardo Semler, CEO of the radical Brazilian company Semco, and you’ll get an answer that stretches far beyond the workplace.

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

The former General of Command of the US Army, is giving several techniques on how to build a sense of shared purpose among people.

4.    Fields Wicker-Miurin: Learning from leadership’s missing manual

Leadership doesn’t have a user’s manual, but Fields Wicker-Miurin says stories of remarkable, local leaders are the next best thing. The lessons from their improbable rise will inspire you to think of your own leadership value in terms of the legacy you’ll leave upon your community.


5.    Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree

Heffernan dispels myths about who are the best leaders and which role leaders take in successful teams. She shares the single most important act that will ensure every team’s success.


6.    David Logan: Tribal leadership

David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form — in schools, workplaces, even the driver’s license bureau.


7.    Dan Pink; The puzzle of motivation

A wonderful talk about rethinking the way how we run businesses. This former speech writer of Al Gore is arguing why traditional award schemes are not functioning anymore, by examining the psychology behind motivation.


8.    Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music

In one of the best TED talks every, one of the most famous conductors in the world, Benjamin Zander, is talking about ‘leadership by passion’, based on his experience with conducting classic concerts.


9.    Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

By studying outliers, Shawn is giving an interesting insight in the reason why some people work ‘above average’ in the workplace.


10. Roselinde Torres: What It Takes to Be a Great Leader

After spending 25 years observing leaders in action, Roselinde Torres shares the three most important questions that every aspiring leader needs to ask if he or she wants to succeed.


11. David Grady: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings

In his TED Talk, information security manager David Grady speaks to an epidemic of bad, inefficient, overcrowded meetings that are plaguing the world’s businesses – and making workers miserable.


12. Jason Fried – Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work

Author of many NYT bestselling books is talking about the main barriers of productivity; “Managers & Meetings”. How to be more productive at work? In this talk, Jason sheds light on the many distractions we face at work and how the office isn’t suited for creative pursuits that require large periods of uninterrupted time.


13. Tom Wujec – Build A Tower Build A Team

Tom Wujec presents some surprisingly deep research into the “marshmallow problem” — a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients? And why does a surprising group always beat the average?


14. Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership

Drew is giving a wonderful speech on the ‘lollipop moments’, managers can give to their colleagues. He calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.