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14 TED Talks to help your business build the ideal team

As the country’s unemployment rate continues to improve, employers are starting to fill their rosters again. Yet, in this tough economy, hiring managers must be even more selective than before. Building a top-notch team is about more than just identifying qualified candidates. Whether you’re an entrepreneur just starting out or looking for ways to infuse new energy into your current team, these 14 TED Talks offer great insights into nurturing innovation, finding the best talent, and keeping your employees engaged and happy.

Building the ideal team starts at the top

As a leadership team, Denise, Jacob, Dave and I know fostering AdamsGabbert’s culture of trust, transparency and collaboration starts with us. From eye-opening research into the real cause of unhappy teams to strategies for building trust and increasing diversity, here’s some inspiration and practical advice.

1.     Listen, learn … then lead, by General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army

Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal shares the lessons he learned during his decades in the military, including how to build a sense of shared purpose among a team with diverse skill sets.

“How does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven’t done what the people you’re leading are doing?” – General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army

2.     The surprising ingredient that makes businesses work better, by Marco Alverà, businessman, fairness crusader

According to Marco Alverà, a sense of unfairness at work is such a powerful trigger that employees can’t think straight, which has a negative impact on productivity and culture. How do you promote a culture of fairness?

“At work, unfairness makes people defensive and disengaged.” – Marco Alverà

3.     Confessions of a recovering micromanager, by Chieh Huang, co-founder and CEO,

If you’ve ever worked for a micromanager, you know how awful it feels to have your every move scrutinized. If you’ve ever been a micromanager, you probably know it’s not the most effective management style. In his TED Talk, Huang proposes a simple solution: trust.

Micromanagement is “taking great, wonderful, imaginative people … bringing them into an organization and then crushing their souls.” – Chieh Huang, co-founder and CEO of

4.     How to build a company where the best ideas win, by Ray Dalio, Founder, chair and co-chief investment officer, Bridgewater Associates

You may have heard the term “radical transparency,” but what does it mean in practice? For starters, you need to create clarity around your processes and operations, and encourage your team to freely express and share their opinions.

“In order to have an idea meritocracy, we have to let people speak and say what they want.” – Ray Dalio, founder, chair and co-chief investment officer, Bridgewater Associates

Hiring the right people for your jobs

Diversity, grit and…marshmallows? Experts in design, technology and equity share their research into hiring the right people and how that can help or harm your business.

5.     Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume, by Regina Hartley, human resources expert

If you’re tossing out resumes based on a history of job-hopping, you may be bypassing your next rock star. HR expert Regina Hartley shares fascinating research why you should consider what she calls the “Scrappers” over the “Silver Spoons.”

“I say choose the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose.” – Regina Hartley, human resources expert

6.     How to make applying for jobs less painful, by Priyanka Jain, technologist

Online job application platforms can’t measure subtle characteristics that can be critical to identifying candidates’ red flags or their standout qualities. Can artificial intelligence (AI) do a better job of matching the perfect candidate with the right position?

“46 percent of people get fired or quit within the first year of starting their jobs.” – Priyanka Jain, technologist

7.     Build a tower, build a team, by Tom Wujec, designer

A simple team-building exercise led to research that provides deep insights into what makes teams successful. All you need is a marshmallow and some pasta.

“Design truly is a contact sport. It demands that we bring all of our senses to the task, and that we apply the very best of our thinking, our feeling and our doing to the challenge we have at hand.” – Tom Wujec, designer

8.     How to design gender bias out of your workplace, by Sara Sanford, gender equity expert

Companies spend billions on diversity and inclusion training, yet women are still underrepresented in leadership. Sara Sanford identifies the many small changes you can make to eliminate gender bias at your company.

“What matters is not the total percentage of female employees. Or the number of board members that are female … The factors that matter and that should be measured are under the surface.” – Sara Sanford, gender equity expert

9.     Grit: The power of passion and perseverance, Angela Lee Duckworth, psychologist

Can grit predict success? Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth explains how changing your mindset from one of, “I can’t do that.” to “I can’t do that yet.” can help your career take off.

“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” – Angela Lee Duckworth, psychologist

10.  How diversity makes teams more innovative, by Rocío Lorenzo, management consultant, diversity

Treating diversity as a competitive advantage can have a tremendous impact on your team’s ability to innovate. It starts with deciding who to hire and who we promote.

 “The data in our sample showed that more diverse companies are simply more innovative, period.” -Rocío Lorenzo, management consultant, diversity

Fostering success in your employees

Finding the right people for your workplace is one thing, but keeping them happy, engaged and productive is another. It’s not as simple as doling out extra perks, but it could be as simple as treating your employees the same way you treat your customers.

11.  This is what makes employees happy at work, by Michael C. Bush, equity visionary

You’ve probably heard the statistic that just 40% of people around the world say they’re happy at work. Equity expert Michael C. Bush shares insights into what’s making them so miserable, and how you can increase employee satisfaction in your workplace.

“It’s not about pingpong tables and massages and pet walking. It’s not about the perks. It’s all about how they’re treated by their leaders and by the people that they work with.” – Michael C. Bush, equity visionary

12.  How a company can nurture its internal rebels, by Shoel Perelman, rebel/intrapreneur

Startups are known for their scrappiness and whatever-it-takes dedication to growing. So, why do so many companies lose that startup mentality as they grow? Shoel Perelman examines “revolutionary innovation” and tactics for retaining your company’s internal rebels.

“Big companies are great at killing new ideas.” – Shoel Perelman, rebel/intrapreneur

13.  Using happiness to evaluate a company’s success, by Lena Bieber, transformation manager

Lena Bieber argues revenue and market share aren’t the only measures of a successful company, as she dives into what makes people feel engaged at work and how happy employees help lead to a healthier bottom line.

“Why are companies still focusing on financial factors only when it comes to assessing their performance?” – Lena Bieber, transformation manager

14.  Why we need to treat our employees as thoughtfully as our customers, by Diana Dosik, organizational disruptor

All companies want to understand their customers better, and there are myriad tools to help glean those insights. But research suggests flipping the script and investing in learning more about their employees’ journeys is another important tool for building better companies.

“Companies spend a trillion dollars a year worldwide trying to understand and shape the journeys of their customers … Companies spend a thousand times less understanding and shaping the journeys of the people they depend on most: their own employees.” – Diana Dosik, organizational disruptor

These approaches aren’t one-size-fits-all, and you’re the one who gets to define what the ideal team looks like for your business. As someone who has worked with teams at startups and established companies of all sizes – and as a leader of one of the best teams in Kansas City – I can tell you it’s a constant, worthwhile work in progress. Similarly, when it comes to academic writing in business, working with a partner like can provide tailored support. They specialize in crafting business-related academic works, ensuring that your papers are professionally written to meet your specific needs and academic standards.

Stacy Rose serves as AG’s COO and partner, where she is a driving force in AG’s explosive growth. Surprisingly different, obsessed with innovation and creators of deliberate impact. We are the real deal. AG is a technology services firm where trust, transparency and collaboration matter. By investing in our people and community, we bring our partners the best talent and strategic solutions. We are proud to be a certified Woman-Owned Business (WBE). We love Kansas City, and we have a lot of fun supporting our partners. We are AG.

Let’s Accelerate Together.

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