Ted Lasso: Life Lessons – Take 3

Oooh, I will miss him.

So sorry to see it going away.

Darn, I loved it so much.

These are the kind of remarks that fans of the Apple TV+ series, Ted Lasso, have expressed since the show’s final episode ran last month. Viewers loved the simple, uplifting spirit that Ted, an American football coach transported to London to coach an English football club, exuded. As played (and co-created ) by Jason Sudeikis, the series won loyal fans worldwide, including some at the White House, where the cast met in the Oval Office and later in the press briefing room.

And it’s easy to figure out why. First, the show is funny. Its characters are quirky. Its dark moments were sobering, but redemption lurked. What’s not to like about a lead character, the response to insults with smiles – an antidote to the vitriol so prevalent in our real lives? The series has inspired me to write about more than once.

My first post from 2020 focused on the effect of Ted’s open-hearted management style. My second post, which ran earlier this year, highlighted the sense of community that evolved from the team, its management, its coaches, and its fans. My conclusion for my third post is that the series’s secret is just that – community. We fans feel part of AFC Richmond; we all have become greyhounds (team mascot) at heart.

Shared community lessons

Community is what we all need now more than ever. Our world is upside down, and the future is unclear, but we all know deep down that we need one another. So we take comfort in the lessons of a fictional character (Lasso) who says, “If you care about someone, and you got a little love in your heart, there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together.”

Community builds upon four principles.

Shared experience. Nothing binds people together more than experiencing hardship. We certainly experienced that feeling during lockdown due to the pandemic. Isolation grew, but so did connections, often fostered by video connections. Organizations that leverage what they have experienced build bonds that contribute to resilience as well as an ability to weather the next hardship.

Shared knowledge. Good communities are open about what they know and willingly share it. High-performing teams bring new members into the team through their rituals, some humorous, some strict, all important to team cohesion. Underlying is the practice of tacit knowledge, the way we do things here because we know they work.

Shared goals. So often, we hear that individuals from all walks of life need something bigger than themselves to believe in. We want to pull together to achieve an objective, a goal, or even a vision that gives us the feeling that what we do means something. It is purposeful.

Shared success. When a group works hard achieves what it has worked hard to achieve, individuals feel good about what they have accomplished. And as with hardship, it fuels them to face the next challenge.

On we go into the future

When experiences, knowledge, and goals are shared, people do come together. Not because they have to but because they want to. The takeaway lesson from Ted Lasso is that every character has a role to play – on the pitch, in the coaches’ office, or the stands – even in the pub. Of course, everyone wants Richmond to win, but more importantly, everyone wants to belong.

We will miss Ted Lasso, but the lessons remain. Trent Crim, the team’s beat reporter, once quipped, “If the Lasso way is wrong, it’s hard to imagine being right.”

Go Greyhounds!

First posted on Forbes.com 6.06.2023