Too Hard Basket: Ted Lasso and HCL

Dr Ashlee J. Linck | 9 December 2021


As many of our clients know, Three6 has developed our Human Centred Leadership program because we discovered, through our work in many organisations, that a human centred design mindset doesn't happen on its own.

Ted Lasso is many things. A Yank who finds himself embedded into the English Premiere Football League overnight. A mentor to many. A joke to some. An optimist. A visionary. A Human Centred Leader. For those of you who have not binge watched Ted Lasso on AppleTV, stop reading and immediately sit yourself in front of your TV. It will change your life. For those of you who, like me, find Ted Lasso to be the most uplifting, funny, authentic and inspiring character on TV, read on to see why Ted Lasso may just be a more accomplished human centred leader than we realise.  

As many of our clients know, Three6 has developed our Human Centred Leadership program because we discovered, through our work in many organisations, that a human centred design mindset doesn’t happen on its own. Our clients find that embedding HCD throughout an organisation can be challenging because they don’t have the right leadership and culture to support the process. A sustainable vision and plan of action is needed to guide leaders, HCD practitioners and employees to ensure a sustainable transformation in mindset. As such, a true understanding of HCD principles and how they apply to each layer of the organisation is essential to effectively implement an HCD mindset. 


So, what does any of this have to do with Ted Lasso? I was about 30 weeks into a Melbourne lockdown. Like many of us, I was over it. I was bored, had watched every season of Peaky Blinders, Mad Men and the Handmaid’s Tale…. twice. I had baked sourdough bread, home-schooled daily and was feeling the negative impacts of extended lockdowns and boredom. I was singing the blues on my morning bay swim, when one of my swimming friends happily told me she had the perfect antidote for my lockdown blues: Ted Lasso. This friend had seemed noticeably upbeat the past few days…maybe she was onto something. I popped on Ted Lasso that night. My swimming friend wasn’t wrong. Ted Lasso brought humour, kindness, cleverness, Dad jokes and quotes that made you want to watch it again to catch them all. Ted Lasso made me have hope again and…. BELIEVE. Those of you who have watched Ted Lasso will know exactly what that means.  

Granted, I am a leadership nerd and have spent more years that I care to admit understanding leaders and teams, but I couldn’t help but reflect on how Ted Lasso personified the HCD mindsets and principles that Three6 had recently developed. In fact, he had a quote for each Human Centred Design Mindset in our HCL program.  Our HCL mindsets include a Beginner’s mindset, adaptable mindset, Open Mindset, Empathetic mindset, Un (conscious) Bias mindset, Ambiguity embracer mindset, Holisitic and Collaborative mindset and Creative mindset. Here is how Ted Lasso exemplifies these in his daily leadership of the Richmond Footy Team!  

  • Beginner’s Mindset: Life-long learner, curious and open to exploring new things 
  • ‘Be curious, not judgemental” – Walt Whitman c/o Ted Lasso 
  • Ted embraces curiosity and is open to new ways of working without judgement. He tests and learns new strategies with his team and learns from these experiences – both good and bad.  
  • Adaptable Mindset: Ability to adjust to new conditions and change perspectives and positions 
  • ‘Coach, I got a feeling we aren’t in Kansas anymore.”  
  • Ted Lasso is plucked from College Football in Kansas and finds himself the Head Coach of the Richmond Football Team (soccer, if you ask Ted) overnight. He is in a new country coaching a sport he knows nothing about. If that doesn’t show adaptability, I am not sure what does.  
  • Open Mindset: Willingness to consider new ideas and invite new perspectives 
  • “I shouldn’t bring an umbrella to a brainstorm” 
  • Ted constantly considers new ideas about how to develop the players and coaches on his team to bridge the gaps between them. Who could forget the way he eventually gets Roy Kent and Jamie Tart on the same page? Or let’s talk about the Diamond Dogs! Their open mindset is evident through their sharing of new perspectives at each meeting!  
  • Empathetic Mindset: Feeling empathy for customers, employees and stakeholders 
  • “If you care about someone, and you got a little love in your heart, there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together” 
  • “It’s just a group of people who care, Roy. Not unlike folks at a hip-hop concert whose hands are not in the air.” 
  • If nothing else, Ted Lasso embodies empathy. He shows empathy in his first meeting with Nate the Great by including him in the team. He shows empathy to Keeley, Rebecca and Sam in his daily interactions. He shows empathy to the fans who attack him. All stakeholders are treated with empathy and understanding.   
  • Un (conscious) Bias Mindset: Actively looking for biases and beliefs to ensure they are not misleading our views 
  • “I want you to know, I value each of your opinions, even when you’re wrong.’ 
  • Ted Lasso makes a practice of understanding where others are coming from and exploring why they believe the way they do. He works to deconstruct biases from his teammates and himself. Ted considers these biases and makes sound decisions….even when they are hard calls to make.  
  • Ambiguity embracer mindset: Feels comfortable with the unknown, can deal with dynamic situations 
  • “Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.”  
  • Ted Lasso embraces his new home, team, boss, league, teammates and sport with open arms, comfortability and positivity. It doesn’t mean the transition is seamless, but Ted Lasso sure makes being comfortable in the uncomfortable look easy!  
  • Holistic and Collaborative Mindset: Ability to see the whole system, its connections and dependencies 
  • “I think that you might be so sure that you are one in a million, that sometimes you forget that out there you’re just one in 11.”  
  • If nothing else, Ted believes in the beauty of teamwork. He sees the whole system of Richmond (players, administrators, leaders, owners, press, fans) and strategically connects all pieces and parts of the larger system effectively. And with the cast of characters Ted has to work with…..that is no small feat! 
  • Creative Mindset: Gives the permission to question the status quo and solve problems differently 
  • ‘If that’s a joke, I love it. If not, can’t wait to unpack that with you later.”  
  • Ted Lasso is anything but the status quo. He doesn’t act like them, look like them or talk like them. He doesn’t even drink tea lol. He embraces Nate the Great who sticks out like a sore thumb. He doesn’t follow existing practices from the last coach. He shakes things up just by being himself. He does things differently. And it is this creativity that makes him great.  


If you would like to discuss your love for Ted Lasso, Roy Kent and Keeley OR would like to learn more about how Human Centred Leadership can help guide and uplift human centred mindsets in your organisation or leadership team, please contact me at You can also learn more about Three6’s HCL offerings at

In the words of Ted Lasso, “I believe in hope. BELIEVE.”