The job of a CFO has evolved to more than simply looking at numbers. As key decision-makers within their respective organizations, they are also expected to be thought leaders and strategic visionaries that drive their company’s vision. Therefore, it’s important for CFOs to have a diverse set of skills that go beyond corporate finance.

From leadership to workplace culture, TED speakers touch on new findings and insights that can provide fresh perspectives on the challenges faced by finance leaders. Here are our top eight TED talks for CFOs seeking to become stronger professionals and leaders.



1. How Great Leaders Inspire Action

How do you become a great leader? In this popular TED talk, Simon Sinek talks about the key patterns he’s found through studying great leaders such as Steve Jobs and the Wright brothers, highlighting the differences in the way they think, act, and communicate. He introduces the golden circle - a simple model on how to inspire action. And when using this method, he emphasizes how leaders can easily make a big positive change in their organizations.

Watch it here.


2. How Stress Affects Your Body

The job of a CFO can be very stressful. However, what are the long-term effects stress can have on your body? In this informative, animated video, Sharon Bergquist shows us how stress affects us from a biological perspective. Watch it to the end to understand how to minimize the damage long-term stress has on our brains and body.

Watch it here.


3. Don’t Fear Intelligent Machines - Work with Them

At the age of 22, Garry Kasparov became the World Chess Champion in 1985, beating 32 of the world’s best chess players in Hamburg, Germany. 12 years later, he played chess against a computer and lost. Through his experiences, he talks about the fear people have when it comes to technology and the race against machines in the job market. Check out this TED talk to learn more about Garry’s opinion on intelligent technology and how to work with them to maximize productivity.

Watch it here.


4. How to Speak So That People Want to Listen

The human voice is the most powerful sound in the world, yet why do many people experience being ignored when they speak? As a CFO, being a good speaker and knowing how to communicate with your team is a crucial trait to being a leader. Through this TED talk, Julian Treasure highlights the seven deadly sins of speaking to avoid as well as the four cornerstones of a good conversationalist so that you can become a better speaker.

Watch it here.  


5. This is What Makes Employees Happy at Work

Workplaces with happier employees outperform unhappier companies by three times in revenue growth. So, what can companies do to create happier environments for their employees? After surveying people from a wide variety of roles, Michael C. Bush shares his findings on what makes workers unhappy and what companies can do to increase employee satisfaction and drive business success.

Watch it here.  


6. What I Learned By Giving Up Everything I Knew As a Leader

Leaders have a tendency to have high expectations for themselves to know the answers to all their company problems. Jim Whitehurst was no different. After transitioning from CTO of Delta to CEO of Red Hat, a fast-growing open-source software company, he realized that this mindset of his needed to change. He talks about questioning his stance as a leader, what his purpose truly is, and changing himself for the better.

Watch it here.


7. What Baby Boomers Can Learn from Millennial's at Work & Vice Versa

The gap between boomers and millennials can be intimidating, especially in the workplace. Hospitality entrepreneur Chip Conley talks about his experience working with the millennial geniuses behind Airbnb. Despite being a seasoned expert in his field, he felt like a newbie and realized that he needed to reevaluate what he had to offer and turn his judgement into curiosity. This is a great TED talk for those who want to learn about how boomers and millennials can work together to drive better work performance.

Watch it here.  


8. Two Reasons Companies Fail And How to Avoid Them

A failing company is the biggest fear for any company decision-maker. To avoid that from happening, decision-makers need to find the right balance between exploration and exploitation. But it isn’t easy, as only 3% of companies have a perfect balance between the two. In this TED talk, Dean of the Global Leadership Institute at the World Economic Forum and Professor of Strategy and International Management at the Institute for Management Development (IMD) Knut Haanaes talks about finding that balance and how to avoid the traps to get there.

Watch it here.

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