Change management is one of the toughest and most complex activities related to strategy and management, often entrusted to highly experienced individuals. The person responsible for leading the organizational transformation team must possess various skills and extensive knowledge to successfully drive organizational change. These include project management, strategic insight, leadership of the transformation team, and leadership for coordinating different forces within the organization, as well as a thorough understanding of the industry, and more.

Recently, I began watching the television series ‘Ted Lasso.’ Although I won’t delve into a review or synopsis of the series, I have made note of relevant points that can be applied to change management:

  • Confronting opposing forces:

 Ted faces opposition from within the organization right from the start. The players are not fond of him, and even the club manager has no hope for him.

In every organization, there are individuals and groups that stand to lose their interests if conditions change. These forces are resistant to change and act as barriers to implementing organizational transformations. The crucial point here is that strategy and transformation consultants must be able to identify stakeholders, understand their needs and desires, and align them with the project objectives. These oppositions can arise from various reasons (such as fear of job loss, unfamiliarity with project objectives, etc.).

For this reason, strategy consultants and change managers need to be prepared and have the courage to confront opposing forces, focusing solely on the company’s interests.

  • The Infinite Game:

At the end of episode three of season one, Ted Lasso is asked by a reporter about his feelings regarding the loss in a football game to the rival team. He responds by saying:

“For me, success is not about winning or losing. It’s about helping these young individuals become their best versions, both on and off the field.

Many organizations and individuals are consumed by the pursuit of victory. But how can you win an infinite game that has no endpoint? It simply doesn’t exist. Do we have something called ‘winning’ in the world of business? Games like football and chess are finite with defined rules and clear endpoints. However, the game of business is infinite and boundless. In this game, there is no such thing as ‘winning’ because there are always new challenges, ever-changing rules, and the players are not fixed or constant. There is no finish line.

In the infinite game of business, only those who play by the infinite rules endure for the long term. They engage in actions that make them more innovative, adaptable, and resilient than their competitors. Having a limited mindset in an infinite game can be disastrous. For example, during the Vietnam War, the United States won almost all the battles and inflicted significant casualties on their enemy, yet they ultimately lost the war. The metrics they used to measure their success and performance proved to be worthless. North Vietnam was willing to endure any hardship and fight for as long as necessary to force America to retreat. In that war, North Vietnam had an infinite mindset.

Simon Sinek, through extensive and diverse examples, demonstrates how infinite players, in any field, exhaust their opponents and keep them on the defensive, remaining in the game for a long time and building incredibly strong organizations that can weather any storm. Great leaders strategically navigate the infinite game and do not get caught up in short-term achievements.” (Quoted from the book “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek)

  • Organizational Alignment:

 Organizational alignment is a vital component of effective management and achieving desired outcomes. When individuals within an organization are aligned, they share a common understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, and goals. This alignment promotes unity, collaboration, and coordination among team members, leading to improved efficiency and productivity. Effective management ensures that all employees are working in harmony towards a unified goal, maximizing the organization’s potential for success.

In the series, we witness Ted Lasso’s efforts to foster teamwork, aligning all team members’ focus on a common goal, enabling the team to utilize their full potential to achieve the unified objective.

  • Level 5 Leadership:

 James Collins, in his book “Good to Great,” discusses leaders who propel organizations towards greatness. These leaders possess the following characteristics, which we observe in Ted:

Level 5 leaders are inspiring, humble, ambitious, and responsible.

 Level 5 leaders do not fear the criticism of others and fight for success.

Level 5 leaders do not use excessive ambition for self-promotion.

Level 5 leaders have a high tolerance for risk and act boldly, even when others perceive it as a mistake.

Level 5 leaders are highly disciplined individuals who leverage this discipline to accomplish their goals. Their inner discipline prevents negative influences from derailing their decisions or actions.

 It should be noted that level 5 leaders always choose individuals for their team whom they can rely on easily. Level 5 leaders seek assistance from subject matter experts to consistently work towards their objectives.

Ted behaves like a level 5 leader. He is not afraid of being insulted by reporters, he is humble and accountable. Even after his assistant, Nate Shelley, displays unpleasant and divisive behavior by leaving the team and joining the rival team, Ted holds no grudge against him.

  • Good ideas can come from anywhere:

In the beginning of the series, we witness a person who collect the ball for team, has lacks self-confidence and is subjected to mockery and ridicule by team members. However, Ted treats this individual with respect and listens to his ideas. This ball boy has good ideas, and with his creative and analytical mind, he gradually grows and progresses, eventually becoming a coach.

According to Morteza Lashkari Bolouki’s strategy model, strategy is created from four sources:

  1. The first source of strategy is strategic vision.
  2. The second source is strategic decision-making in response to strategic issues.
  3. The third source is strategic analysis.
  4. The fourth source is strategic exploration and ideas.

Strategy can also emerge from ideas that sprout within the organization or through experimental approaches that the organization decides to temporarily implement (such as the idea of Nespresso or selling food machines instead of food). Strategies can originate from various sources and do not adhere to strict scheduling. Therefore, strategy is a combination of expected and unexpected elements, blending both planned and emergent thinking.

Follow on LinkedIn

By Reza

Leave a Reply