David Burkus

Speech Topics

What if the advice we’ve all heard about networking and developing relationships was wrong?

In this new and startling look at the art and science of networking, Burkus challenges many of our commonly shared beliefs about networking. Drawing on more than five decades of social science research into how networks work, Burkus has found that what the best networkers do looks a lot less like collecting business cards and making random introductions and a lot more like fostering authentic connections and seeking out diverse new voices. And he reveals how anyone can do the same. Audience members will leave with practical and proven strategies to grow their network and to make their current network work much harder for their success.

Key Takeaways:

· Which areas of your network provide the best source of new ideas and insights
· Where the potential blind spots and weak points in your network are
· How to foster authentic, collaborative relationships
· How to effectively grow and strengthen your network

What’s the best way to build and lead teams? Do the best companies really put their employees’ welfare first, and their clients second?  Do performance reviews actually improve performance?

Burkus challenges many of the long-established principles of management and leadership. Drawing on decades of research, Burkus has found that not only are many of our fundamental management practices wrong and misguided, but they can be downright counter-productive. These days, the best companies are already breaking the old rules. From sharing salaries openly, to abandoning performance reviews, to putting management in the hands of the whole company, the revolutionary insights Burkus reveals are convincing companies to leave behind decades-old management practices and to implement new ways to enhance productivity and morale. Audience members will walk away with evidence-based strategies and real world examples to drive performance and build stronger teams.

Why do some individuals and teams seem like star performers, while others barely shine? Using a variety of stories, case studies and scientific research, David Burkus reveals that what makes a high-performing team isn’t just who’s on it, but also how it’s built. He explains how famous inventors, outstanding companies—even Broadway stars—benefit from focusing not just on making their teams work, but also on building their network. Audience members will learn how to determine if they’ve got the right team around them, and how to leverage their network to boost both the team’s and the organization’s performance. Forget the ropes courses and trust falls: there’s a better way to build teams.

When do best practices actually hinder our ability to lead? According to thought leader and management professor David Burkus, they almost always do. Using evidence from behavioral economics and social psychology paired with case studies from the world’s leading companies, Burkus shows how the best practices and policies are often counterintuitive and offers practical ways to find out if your management needs new management. The best leaders lead differently.

Why are some people consistently creative and others strikingly unoriginal? What holds people and teams back from reaching their creative capacity. The answer, it turns out, has to do with the stories that we tell – the myths that surround creativity and innovation.

Burkus targets the various faulty beliefs we apply when trying to encourage creativity and offers well-researched facts in their place. Using insights from the wealth of research on individual and organizational creativity, Burkus provides practical implications and realistic strategies for encouraging creativity and innovation that are tailored to the specific needs of the audience.

Why is it that children act so creatively and so few adults engage their creativity? Dr. David Burkus considers the role of education through the various myths that affect our understanding of what explains creativity and how to enhance it in students and adults. Using insight from the wealth of research on organizational creativity, Burkus provides practical implications and realistic strategies for teaching creativity.


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David Burkus is a best-selling author, a sought after speaker, and associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University. His book, Friend of a Friend (May 2018), offers readers a new perspective on how to grow their networks and build key connections—one based on the science of human behavior, not rote networking advice. He’s delivered keynotes to the leaders of Fortune 500 companies and the future leaders of the United States Naval Academy. His TED talk has been viewed over 1.7 million times and he is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review.

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