The Lasso Way: evidence-based practices for effective teams

What Ted understands and believes is that each person on the team—the captain, coach, star player, and locker room attendant—all have important roles to play to ensure that the team functions at its best.

This story was published in the Spring-Summer 2024 issue of The Washington Nurse.

21 illustration The Lasso Way evidence based practices for effective teams

The hit TV show Ted Lasso recently completed its three-year run, winning scores of awards and delighting audiences globally.

The story of a collegiate football coach who moves to England to coach soccer for a down-on-its-luck team with a host of colorful characters was beloved by fans for its funny, poignant, and refreshing take on cultural clashes, friendships, family relationships, mental health, leadership, and more. Viewers might also recognize how the show used several key evidence-based practices to promote effective teamwork.

Below are some of Lasso’s more famous quotes and how they relate to teams.

“Be curious.”

We’re hardwired to be curious from a young age—think of a curious baby or a toddler’s incessant question, “Why?”

Curiosity is an essential aspect of working in any team. It is a key part of innovating, resolving conflict, and building trust—all vital components of effective teams!

In teams, curiosity is often expressed in open-ended and nonjudgmental communication. Concepts such as asking open-ended questions, using “I” statements, the Communication Wheel, listening to understand (also called active listening), and positive nonverbal body language all support a team culture of curiosity.

“Turn that ‘me’ into ‘us’ … the sky’s the limit.”

Effective teams figure out how to make progress together and speak with one voice. This does not mean that they are always unanimous! Effective teams often use consensus to reach agreement.

Consensus is about cooperating between equals and trying to find a win-win solution that works for everyone. It’s the exact opposite of “majority rules” because everyone has a voice and is given a chance to be heard, and no decision is made against the will of an individual or a group. With consensus, the sky is really the limit because the entire team shares power and everyone is respected.

“Two buttons I never like to hit: panic and snooze.”

A team is at its best when its members know the purpose of their team, the outcomes that it is trying to achieve, how the team works, and their individual roles and responsibilities on the team. But how does that happen?

Team leaders should consider providing an orientation session where members can understand their specific roles in the team, as well as the team’s values, purpose, and objectives and how it will function. Individual members should read meeting agendas when these are published, know what their action items (“homework”) are, and follow team procedures if they cannot attend a meeting. When everyone is on the same page regarding roles, purpose, values, and objectives, no one panics and nobody’s snoozing!


Of course, one can’t reference Ted Lasso without mentioning his now-famous motto, “believe.” Against all odds, Ted believes in his coworkers, his friends, and especially the team, even when the people in his life aren’t at their best. He tries to see the good in everyone. Most importantly, he inspires his players to believe in themselves, their athletic abilities, and their teammates. If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know that fostering that kind of psychological safety and trust isn’t easy, and it’s the same in real life, too.

What Ted understands and believes is that each person on the team—the captain, coach, star player, and locker room attendant—all have important roles to play to ensure that the team functions at its best.

Curiosity resources

The power of curiosity: How to use this essential tool to understand different opinions. Psychology Today, April 19, 2017. Author Robert J. Maurer, PhD, is the director of Behavioral Sciences for the Family Practice Residency Program at UCLA.

How curiosity can make your meetings—and teams better. Harvard Business Review, Jan. 29, 2024. Author Sabina Nawaz is a global CEO coach who advises C-level executives.

Get curious: Explore our assumptions to learn about ourselves and others. Substack, Jan. 26, 2022. Author Dr. Julie Pham.

Consensus resources

Consensus decision making: A short guide. By Seeds of Change, a workers’ cooperative of experienced campaigners who offer training, facilitation, online resources, and other support for campaigns, community groups, and cooperatives.

Benefits to consensus decision making. Posted by University of Minnesota Extension in community and leadership development.

Consensus decision making. Article posted by Consensus Decision Making, a virtual learning center for people interested in consensus. Author Tim Hartnett with Group Facilitation.net.

Shared understanding resources

7 reasons why effective team meetings are important. Posted by Kanban Zone, a visual collaboration system that embeds the Kanban system pioneered by Toyota.

Interprofessional practice: A blueprint for success. American Nurse, Jan. 4, 2022. Author Maria W. O’Rourke, PhD, RN, FAAN.

What makes some teams high performing? Harvard Business Review, Aug. 23, 2023. Author Dave Burkus is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author of five books, including Best Team Ever.

Believe resources

The 5 dysfunctions of a team. Article posted by the Table Group, a company based in Lafayette, California, focused on leading a movement to make organizational health a reality in companies and organizations everywhere.

Our Iceberg is Melting is a New York Times bestselling book about changing and succeeding under any conditions. Author John Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership emeritus at Harvard Business School. (This book is on its 10th edition.)

The 9 Belbin Team Rules. The Belbin Team Role theory was developed as a result of research undertaken by Dr. Meredith Belbin at Henley Management College to understand why certain teams performed better than others. This theory has been used for decades to help individuals, teams, and organizations perform more effectively.