x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Business Confidential: Secrets to Success

This event occurred on
March 24, 2016
1:00pm - 3:00pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
Northbrook, Illinois
United States

After a brief introductory TEDx video, four TED Talks were screened:

Video presenters included:

Leadership Expert Simon Sinek, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”
Business Educator Eddie Obeng, “Smart Failure for a Fast-Changing World”
Information Security Manager David Grady, “How to Save the World (or at least yourself) from Bad Meetings”
Journalist Arianna Huffington, “How to Succeed? Get More Sleep”

Simon Sinek’s talk was certainly the center of the discussion; participants really resonated with his idea that the recipe for success requires businesses to lead with why they do what they do, rather than what it is that they do. Today’s innovative companies—Tesla, Apple, Amazon, and Google were mentioned in the discussion—have succeeded because they were able to get the general public to buy into their vision.

Another participant mentioned that while getting people to buy into the “why” definitely generates initial interest, companies whose actions don’t match up with their mission and vision will likely end up with less success and a higher employee turnover. While another participant suggested that losing employees isn’t always the worst thing to happen, since it can open the door for like-minded people, he did agree that some loss would be had if the “why” and the execution of the mission didn’t match up.

Sinek’s talk cited that traditional models for success include working with the right people, and in the discussion, this idea was brought up yet again. Companies like Google, for example, have a very freeform and nontraditional feel; it requires a person of a similar mindset to generate success. Companies like Amazon that are considered equally innovative, on the other hand, run their operations in a very different manner; this again goes back to the idea that productive companies do have to find people who work within their system in order to find success.

Discussion of Sinek’s talk covered more than just innovative businesses, however. Discussion participants connected the idea that people buy into the “why” of what you do with the success of presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, citing that their momentum has been generated by people supporting their ideas of changing the game of politics and the way our government runs. Participants thought it was interesting that two people on opposite sides of the political spectrum would draw support for the same reason.

Ariana Huffington’s talk, which named getting more sleep as the key to success, was another popular topic at the discussion. While a number of participants mentioned that successful, go-getter type people seemed to function exceptionally well on less sleep than the average person requires, the group seemed to agree that what mattered was not so much the number of hours, but getting the amount of sleep you actually need. One patron connected Huffington’s talk to Sinek by suggesting that, when he is lacking sleep, he often neglects to put the “why” into his actions, and thus finds less success in what he does.

Further Watching:

- Tom Wujac, “Got a Wicked Problem? First Tell me how you make toast”
- Margaret Heffernan, “Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work”
- Malcolm Gladwell, “Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce”
- Dan Ariely, “What Makes us feel good about our work?”

Further Reading:

- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- Thrive by Arianna Huffington
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
- The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
- Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton
- The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins

Northbrook Public Library
1201 Cedar Lane
Northbrook Public Library
Northbrook, Illinois, 60062
United States
Event type:
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Organizing team


Northbrook, IL, United States