How can you not love a show that makes you believe that despite the uncertainty, it’s alright to laugh and hope and dream again?
December 22, 2021
Sometime in August 2020, when the world’s collective outlook was at its bleakest, and when it seemed that this planet’s reservoir of good cheer had all but been sucked clean by the pandemic, a mustachioed khaki-clad football coach came streaming into our TV sets and started spouting folksy wisdom in a thick Southern accent, beating back the gloom and doom with his megawatt smile.
One episode in and we all found ourselves infected with his highly contagious bonhomie. Ted Lasso had captured our hearts.
How can you not love a show that makes you believe that despite the uncertainty, it’s alright to laugh and hope and dream again? For many people cooped up indoors brooding over the world’s future, that’s really all that mattered.
It’s not every day that an unabashedly and unapologetically feel-good TV show manages to capture the imagination of a world grown jaded and skeptical of such unbridled positivity. It’s rarer still for one to leave lessons that hit home and have useful applications in our personal and professional lives.
Here are just ten of the many nuggets of wisdom the show offers.
It seemed like a recipe for disaster when Lasso, a small-time American football coach who knows nil about futbol was put in charge of AFC Richmond, a Premiere League club which is itself a seething mass of unchecked egos and raging insecurities.
Except that coach Ted Lasso knew that aptitude flows from attitude. Being the great leader that he is, he knew that before working on actual plays, they needed to work on themselves first. Before long, Lasso’s kindness offensive was working its magic on everybody. Relationships started healing, unresolved issues finally found closure, and the team started gelling before everybody’s eyes.
And after the required self-work had succeeded in putting them in the right headspace, the team almost magically began to acquire the needed chops and became the winning machine it never dreamed it could be.
Smartmatic’s reputation for winning can be largely traced to its people having the right attitude. The philosophy of excellence is, in fact, so pervasive in the company that it touches every aspect of our lives. If we continue to nurture this culture, we ensure our future.
One unforgettable episode revolved around a play that was developed by Nate, the club’s bumbling kit man. Desperate for something to foil the heavily favored opponent, Ted plucked the play out of obscurity and bet all on it for a do or die game. Nate’s play worked and gave Richmond the win sending the fandom into fits of ecstasy. Rather than take credit, Coach Lasso made sure everyone knew who actually created the play. The recognition made Nate’s day and set him off on a journey of self-actualization.
By the same token, Ted Lasso never passed blame on anyone whenever things went south. As the leader, the buck always stops with him.
Excellence indeed flourishes in cultures where successes are celebrated, and failures quietly resolved. In Smartmatic, we are trying to create a Goldilocks zone where people can bask in triumphs, learn from mistakes, and grow to become the best versions of themselves.
It doesn’t matter how crushingly humiliating a defeat is. Be a goldfish with a fifteen-second memory and completely forget about the embarrassment in no time.
Remember, not every tender will go well, not every negotiation will go your way. There will be defeats. But never let them stop you. Lick your wounds, learn your lessons, and lunge back into the action.
The show can be distilled in that sign that Ted taped high up on a wall of the locker room.
It’s how a fish-out-of-water American coach found his niche and made a difference across the Atlantic. It’s how a directionless Richmond found itself and stated accomplishing the impossible. It’s how we can get through every rough patch in our lives and emerge triumphant.
Believe in yourself. Believe in our mission. Believe that our work of providing secure and reliable elections is creating a real impact on humanity. BELIEVE!
On paper, the AFC Richmond was a powerhouse even before Ted arrived. It boasts of superstars like Roy Kent, a fan favorite who still commanded respect even in the twilight of his career. It also has Jamie Tartt, a talented young striker who leads the league in scoring but is too smug and cocky for his own good. Also in its lineup is Dani Rojas, a smiley Mexican striker who has the ability to fire up the crowd with his dazzling plays. The team also has the insanely good midfielder Sam Obisanya from Nigeria.
All this talent and yet the team was a mess.
Richmond was headed nowhere until Lasso came and dropped this truth bomb: Superstars don’t win games. Teams do. Once this sunk in, the team found its mojo and was well on its way to greatness.
While we already have top shelf technology, success is only guaranteed with top quality help from the rest of the team — from those who pitch our solutions to those who close the sale, from those who roll out the project and to those who tell the story of our wins.
Reporter Trent Crimm from The Independent was perhaps the bitterest critic of Ted Lasso, not wasting any opportunity to pillory Lasso with his acerbic pen for the littlest fault.
Yet that never bothered Lasso who just kept on plugging away trying to give Richmond fans a team to be proud of again. Little by little, Lasso’s solid work ethic and unshakeable integrity chipped away at Crimm’s antagonism which eventually gave way to grudging respect. By second season, the two were friends.
Uncompromising integrity is Smartmatic’s calling card to the world. Time and again the company has shown that it would sooner hurt its own bottomline than renege on its principles. Every day we are given the opportunity to live up to this sterling reputation by conducting ourselves with integrity and basing our every dealing on rock solid principles.
Dani Rojas, Jamie Tartt, Roy Kent, and Coach Beard all had at one point found themselves in a blue funk from which they could not claw their way out. Yet Ted Lasso never gave them up for lost. He kept reaching in for them pulling them back to the light because that’s what great leaders do.
A friend, a colleague, a family member might one day find themselves in a bad place. Do a Lasso and just reach in and refuse to let go. With your dogged determination to help, you’ll be amazed to see them find themselves back.
Lasso lives a life sans filter and deals with everyone with complete candor and openness. His genuineness has successfully torn down wall after wall of resistance and has converted legions of skeptics into followers.
The show lets us partake, even vicariously, of a life without guile, without agenda, without fakery.
In Smartmatic, where a culture of teamwork reigns supreme, candor is indeed currency. The more open and honest we are with our colleagues, the more cohesive the whole team will be.
On his very first day on the job, Lasso was subjected to a withering firestorm of insults from an incredulous press, a livid fanbase, and outraged players. Yet he is completely impervious to this sort of abuse. Undeterred, he simply keeps believing in himself and his leadership style, and as a result, the guy just keeps on winning.
Like Ted, we too are professionals on a mission. We don’t take things personally. Constructive criticisms sculpt us. Petty insults slide off us.
How can a TV show crackling with humor and positive vibe have nearly every character fighting an inner demon? Such irony is a stark reminder why we all need to be kind to one another.
This should resonate with anyone who has had to wear a fake smile to mask some inner turmoil or put up a brave front while fighting their battles in silence. And like Ted, we can choose a radical, transformative kindness to reach out and change the world — one fellow human being at a time.
Photo credit: Apple TV