Applying Ted Lasso management lessons to accessibility

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
5 min readApr 28, 2022
Ted Lasso (played by actor Jason Sudeikis) in a dark puffy coat wearing a backpack
Used with permission from https://www.apple.com/tv-pr/originals/ted-lasso/episodes-images/

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I am one of a jillion people anxiously awaiting season 3 of Ted Lasso. One of the reasons for its popularity is the life lessons it teaches on management and relationships through the lens of dramatic comedy (aka “dramady”).

Here are my takeaways from Ted Lasso as applied to accessibility teams.

Treat people with respect

Ted treats everyone with respect down to the towel boy on the team, who eventually grows to be an assistant manager.

In the accessibility world, every person has value, even stakeholders who don’t want to make things accessible. Mutual respect is essential for building successful teams. To convince stakeholders who actively disinterested in accessibility to get on the train, you need to find out what motivates them and then align their motivations to accessibility goals. This is frequently referred to as WIIFM or “What’s In It For Me.” Read my free book which goes into a fair amount of detail categorizing many different types of difficult stakeholders and how to convince them that accessibility is important.

Routine is important.

Ted begins every day with “Biscuits with the Boss.” When he started this routine with Rebecca, the team owner, she wanted nothing to do with it. But Ted insisted, saying, “we can’t be good partners if we don’t know each other.” This means getting to know people by being curious, asking questions, and actively listening to the answers. Stand-ups, assigned slots in answering questions on slack channels and during office hours, and newsletters are some ways of injecting routine within an accessibility organization.

Be a goldfish.

According to Ted, a goldfish has a 15-second memory. Ted allows his players and coworkers to make mistakes but wants them to move on quickly, learning from the mistakes but not dwelling on them. This is the quintessential definition of psychological safety…

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Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.