Ashton Kutcher on Leadership: Tanveer Naseer on Unlikely Sources of Inspiration

Today, I want to share a remarkable viral event: Ashton Kutcher’s advice while accepting his Teen Choice Award this August. The video has inspired millions of hits — watch it on YouTube!  His “insider secrets” are pretty amazing — all about what he learned before he was famous, when his official name was still Chris (his real first name).  He does give great leadership and living advice — about opportunity, being sexy, and making your mark in the world.

ashton-kutcher-teen-choice-awardsI found this video through leadership coach Tanveer Naseer’s blog, “How to Succeed At Leadership.”

Essentially, Kutcher says: opportunity means hard work and humility, being sexy is being smart and generous, and we each have the power to shape this world, because it was made by people no smarter than we are. Good advice for teens and adults alike!

Naseer effectively connects Kutcher’s advice to leadership in business. It’s a great essay, bridging the star’s straightforward advice with good business leadership sense.  Read the whole blog here.

I was particularly impressed by what Naseer writes about the fourth lesson he learned from Kutcher’s viral video:

“Inspiration can come from anywhere if you open yourself up to it
This last lesson is one that I’m adding myself as a reflection of how this piece came about. After seeing and discussing how surprisingly inspirational I found Kutcher’s speech to be – not just for the teenagers in his audience, but for adults as well – I was encouraged by my wife to share these insights with my readers.

Of course, I have to admit that I had some early reservations about it – after all, who’d be interested in reading about leadership lessons gleaned from a speech given by a Hollywood actor for a teen awards show?

But therein lies the final lesson that’s important not just for leaders, but for everyone to take hold of – that if we truly want to be inspired by the everyday encounters we have with those around us, we need to open ourselves to that discovery; to not only to see things in a whole new light, but to commit ourselves to living up to a higher standard.

In a recent column, Steve Denning states that we’re in the midst of a “golden age of management”, one that “seeks to inspire both those who do work and those for whom work is done. It aspires to uplift the human spirit and unleash the creativity latent in every human being while also achieving more disciplined execution than traditional management.”

Key to the mass adoption of this golden age will be our willingness to look past formal roles and functions, to an outward-driven focus not only on how we can contribute the best of ourselves to a shared purpose, but how we can inspire and empower others to become the best version of themselves.”

I like this view of authenticity as a creative process for leaders and followers!


  1. Lauren S. · · Reply

    I loved this quote from his speech: “Opportunity looks a lot like work.” I also like how he said he never was too good to do anything. Lots of lessons on leadership in that small statement alone!


    1. I loved it, too! It’s a shame we don’t expect this kind of smart and practical advice about standing up to your best but being humble enough to accept the gifts of the world!


  2. […] Ashton Kutcher on Leadership: Tanveer Naseer on Unlikely Sources of Inspiration ( […]


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