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Don’t stop believing

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Locker-room inspiration: the locker room of AFC Richmond from the Ted Lasso Apple+ TV show

This MOC column is the third in our series dedicated to sharing “Lessons from Lasso”. These are examples from the series Ted Lasso that resonated with me as I watched the episodes unfold – and which I believe may also apply to our own experiences in the groups and teams with which we engage.

Consider this a possible spoiler alert – but I have tried not to give too much of the plot away in case you haven’t yet watched the series.

To briefly re-cap, the first lesson was “Bake Cookies for Your Boss – Share Your Authentic Self” and the second was “Ted’s Diamond Dogs – Find Your Tribe”.

The third lesson was “Don’t stop believing”.

AFC Richmond is a fictional English professional association football club based in Richmond upon Thames, London, featured in the Apple TV+ show.

In the AFC Richmond locker room hangs a large, handwritten sign above the door that simply says “Believe”.

Some suggest that this single word becomes Ted’s – and the team’s – secret ingredient for success. While on the surface, this might seem like an overly simplistic approach, the show portrays how belief can be the cornerstone of not only success, but also a concept that can enhance the effectiveness of teams and organisations.

Ted Lasso's belief is not just a naïve form of positive thinking; it's a deep-seated conviction that informs every aspect of his coaching style.

He believes in his players' potential, his staff's abilities, and the ultimate good that can come from working together. This belief is not just a slogan, but a guiding philosophy that drives his actions and interactions.

It's a contagious optimism that seeps into the team and gradually transforms it from a collection of disheartened individuals into a cohesive, motivated unit.

The show effectively portrays Ted's reliance on belief through numerous examples. One of the most memorable moments occurs when he gives a speech that goes beyond the typical motivational rhetoric. He acknowledges that success might not come overnight, but he plants the seed of belief in his players' minds, and it starts to take root.

This leads to a series of small victories, and as the team experiences even the slightest progress, their belief in themselves and each other strengthens, propelling them further.

So, how does this “Believe” concept apply beyond the fictional realm of a television show to our own teams and organisations?

The reality is that belief is a cornerstone of success in any team or organisation, regardless of industry.

A leader who fosters a sense of belief among their team members creates an environment where individuals feel valued, empowered, and motivated to excel. Belief inspires and fosters key success factors.

1, Motivation and engagement – When team members believe in the organisation's mission and their role within it, they are more likely to be engaged and committed. Belief provides a sense of purpose that goes beyond financial incentives, driving individuals to invest their best efforts.

2, Innovation and risk-taking – Belief can embolden employees and team-mates to step out of their comfort zones, take calculated risks, and propose innovative ideas. When they believe their contributions matter, they are more likely to think creatively and push boundaries.

3, Collaboration and unity – Just as Ted Lasso fostered camaraderie within his soccer team, belief can unify diverse teams within an organisation. When team members believe in each other's capabilities and in their own abilities to contribute to the collective goal, collaboration flourishes, leading to enhanced problem-solving and shared achievements.

4, Resilience in the face of challenges – Belief serves as a shield against adversity. Teams that believe in their ability to overcome obstacles are more likely to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and continue their pursuit of success.

5, Customer satisfaction – When employees believe in the value they provide to customers, it translates into improved customer interactions, better products or services, and a positive organisational reputation.

6, Leadership effectiveness – Leaders who believe in their team's potential are more likely to exhibit supportive and empowering leadership styles. This, in turn, fosters trust, open communication, and loyalty among team members.

“Ted Lasso" is thus a powerful reminder of the positive impact belief can have on teams and organisations. Ted's unwavering belief in his players and their collective potential is a great example of how a leader's conviction can inspire greatness.

Beyond the fictional realm, the concept of belief remains a driving force in the success of teams and organisations.

Nurturing belief among team members can pave the way for motivation, innovation, collaboration, resilience, and ultimately, outstanding achievements.

Just as Ted Lasso turned a struggling soccer team into a force to be reckoned with, belief can also transform any group of individuals into a unified, high-performing team.

Gayle Gorman (Photograph supplied)

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Published August 28, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated August 28, 2023 at 7:32 am)

Don’t stop believing

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