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4 TED Talks to inspire and motivate your sales team

For those of you who are not yet acquainted with TED Talks, let me just say that they are AWESOME. When watching a TED Talk, my eyes stay glued to the screen as I laugh out-loud, nod along, and often times find myself overcome with a feeling of determination and purpose (also known as “grit” for fellow TED Talk addicts out there).  In less than 15 minutes, TED Talks teach us how to be better people and, as it turns out, these same principles can also be used to make us better business leaders.

We’ve selected our top 4 TED Talks that will help you to better understand the modern workplace and how you can more effectively lead and motivate your sales team:

1.  Richard St. John: 8 secrets of success

I find myself watching this TED talk again and again.  It’s short and sweet and in just 3 minutes, Richard St. John gives us his 8 secrets of success.  While all the steps he mentions are relevant to sales people and can be applied to sales success, number 8 is my personal favorite: Persisting through failure and CRAP (C=Criticism R=Rejection A=Assholes P=Pressure).  If you are looking for a mantra that will stick in their heads and keep your sales team motivated, than this TED talk is for you.

2.  Tom Wujec: Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast

I had the pleasure of seeing Tom Wujec up-close and in person at this year’s Learning Solutions Conference.  Tom is a pioneer in the emerging practice of business visualization and loves asking people and teams to draw how they make toast. This seemingly simple exercise reveals unexpected truths about how we can solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work.  Tom also gets us thinking about the role innovation plays in today’s workplace and what approaches we can take to innovate our training and learning practices.

3.  Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

This is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it and I practically cry from laughing so hard each and every time.  In his hilariously entertaining and engaging manner, psychologist Shawn Achor challenges the theory that productivity leads to happiness and argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.  He also talks about the idea of ‘escaping the cult of the average’ and warns that striving for normalcy is merely striving for average and will lead us to remain average instead of pushing us to do bigger and better. 

4.  Roselinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader 

In this TED Talk, Roselinde Torres shares her insight of 25 years of observing truly great leaders at work and studying what differentiates them from mediocre leaders.  According to Roselinde, it all boils down to these three simple questions that we can all ask ourselves:
  1. What are you doing to anticipate the next change?
  2. What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network?
  3. Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?
All TED talks hold a common thread in that they make us rethink ourselves and how we choose to live and work.  Every speaker’s goal is to challenge our ideas, inspire us, and point us in the direction of improvement.  Unfortunately this type of challenge and reinvention doesn’t always happen within today’s workforce.  Most of us don’t have such inspirational agents of change at work and many work environments are plagued by what Shawn termed the ‘cult of the average.’

When everyone is shuffling along, striving for average, it doesn’t pave the way for progress.  Business leaders are looking for answers to this dilemma.  One way to help your sales team break free of the mold is by adopting innovative technology such as performance support. Similar to an inspiring TED talk, performance support technology can help motivate sales teams and get them to the next stage of the deal by providing real-time support during the sales process and giving them answers at time of need.  It also automates mundane tasks so they can focus on the ‘bigger and better’ part of the job.  Find out more about performance support and how it can move your sales team from “striving for average” to “high performers.”



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