Friday, February 24, 2017

Become a better consultant with 5 TED Talks in under 60 minutes

If you are a lifelong learner life myself, there is a strong probability that you are also an avid TED Talk fan. Sometimes I think I became a consultant because I realized that I wouldn’t be able to earn a livable wage being a college student. Consulting was the next best thing to being an eternal student. I am constantly presented with new challenges and ways of solving problems. 

I am particularly fond of TED Talks because they provide doses of knowledge, ideas, and new perspectives that I can unpack and discuss with colleagues and clients alike. 

Listening to TED Talks are like sitting in a tuition-free classroom in a virtual college with unlimited global community of visiting professors pulled from around the world.   For a lifelong learner, life doesn’t get any better than that. 
Below are 5 powerful TED Talks that can make you refine your habits as a consultant in under one hour:

In this 8 minute TED Talk, Julian Treasure draws on his 10 years of experience in optimizing sound for brands. He discusses the lost art of losing our listening due to the noise of the world and technology.  

Why this is important in consultingActive listening is the number one skill that every consultant should seek to constantly refine. Since conscious listening creates understanding, Julian provides valuable techniques such as sound filters to help you effectively listen. The power of intention in active listening allows you to be able to listen to the information being provided in a way that you could ask the right questions to your clients. 

Navi Radjou brings a breadth of over 20 years to his 16 minute TED Talk discussing how to be creative with extreme resource constraints.  Navi does a great job providing intimate example after example of resourcefulness in action across the world of individuals creating high impact innovative products or services with less.  

Why this is important in consulting:    The world of consulting is changing and with this pace of acceleration leaves room for new opportunities. Consultants who are able to look past the traditional ways of thinking and create simple yet innovative solutions for their clients will win in tomorrow's market. The ability to be creative, resourceful, AND analytical will be key differentiators for the consultant of the future. 

In under 20 minutes, Leadership expert Simon Sinek breaks down how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust and change using the “Why, How, What” golden circle framework.  In his talk, Simon discusses a simple model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle framework and the question "Why?"

Why this is important in consulting:    Simon does a nice job discussing the different personas using the Law of Diffusion of Innovation, illustrating how understanding the gaps that exist between the personas is where value creation begins. As consultants, we are usually in the business of value creation. We strive to help our clients solve complex problems and transform their businesses everyday. Change is never easy. Consultants have to be able to understand how to connect with key stakeholders across a wide spectrum of perspectives. Great consultants collaborate with their clients to articulate a compelling vision for change, which begins by being clear on the “Why”.

Yves Morieux: As Work Gets More Complex, 6 Rules to simplify (12 minutes)

30 year consulting veteran Yves Morieux highlights the impact of "complicatedness" commonly found in organizations that results in a disengaged workforce.  Using 6 smart simplicity rules, Yves shares practical solutions towards evolving an organization’s ways of working with less structures and zero bureaucracy while adding more values and capabilities.

Why this is important in consulting:    Think ELI5 “Explain it like I'm five."  Consultants are constantly bombarded with solutions, tools, techniques, emerging trends, frameworks, methodologies, etc... The ability to leverage your toolkit to draw insights using simple language in an objective voice that helps creates simplicity in the chaos of complexity is a prized skill. Consultants should seek to emulate this mindset; take very complex problems and help clients create simple, impactful solutions.

In 3 minutes, therapist and coach Dr. Laura Trice shares ideas on the power of the magic words "thank you” In this short talk, Laura shares a story about a man who longs to hear his wife say “Thank you” because he has never expressed this need.

Why this is important in consulting "Thank you" is still one of the most powerful pair of words. At the end of the day, manners and etiquette are undervalued skills in professional services. The ability for consultants to genuinely say please and thank you to those around you still goes a long way in business!

I hope you can draw inspiration from these TED Talks as I did.  What are some of your favorite TED Talks?  Share in the comments below.