Contact Us

Lessons from Ted Lasso

Apr 20, 2022

“Be Curious, Not Judgmental” – Ted Lasso, attributed to Walt Whitman

Shouldn’t this be every investigator’s mantra? This is what a good investigator does – applies their curiosity without judgment so they can understand everyone’s perspective before reaching findings. And often, having done that, the investigator concludes everyone is “right” – no one is lying – it is simply a matter of different perspectives colliding.

Ted Lasso was a bright light during the depths of Covid. It was hard to find TV shows that weren’t dark or mean or scary. I know some of you like those genres but not me. I like funny, uplifting, tearjerkers with a sweet side, and Ted Lasso delivers. For those of you who haven’t watched, Ted Lasso is less about soccer, and more about what it means to be a team. It’s about inclusivity and encouraging every team member to be themselves while also making the whole stronger.

We hear a lot of talk about D&I – Diversity and Inclusion. But most of the attention is on the first word, not the second. Diversity is crucial. But diversity doesn’t stick unless it’s coupled with inclusion. I’ve found myself having a lot of conversations lately about inclusion, including why it matters and how we can achieve it.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion means nobody is left behind. Inclusion is figuring out what each person brings and then taking steps to ensure all those disparate strengths work together. Inclusion allows everyone to fit in. The first step toward inclusion is understanding that our different life experiences impact how we show up at work. The second step is acknowledging that there’s always room for one more at the dinner table. As Vernā Myers says, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Lessons From Lasso

Ted Lasso’s sweetness comes from an optimistic c-level soccer coach whose faith in the power of inclusion leads a diverse group of people – some who intensely dislike each other – to accept one another and become a team. The show is translated into a dozen languages, and struck a chord with people around the world. Ted Lasso’s team-building offers some guidance for the rest of us trying to make our teams inclusive:

  • The stars (think C-Suite) have to be willing to take a seat occasionally and listen to what the ball boy or the bat girl have to say. Their perspective can be enlightening.
  • Behind conflicts are humans trying to communicate. If you can listen and figure out where the conflict is coming from, you’ve taken the first big step to easing that conflict and moving on.
  • Everyone has something to offer, but it may not be what you expected or thought you wanted. Try to find the sweet spot between an organization’s need and the abilities of every team member. Looking at the whole and sometimes embracing the unexpected gets you farther than being frustrated when the team takes a path other than the one you planned.
  • Everyone loves being seen and appreciated for who they are.

So, for your watching pleasure, here is Ted Lasso saying the now-famous quote.


By Amy Oppenheimer
Managing Partner