Which Risk Manager Would You Hire? Ted Lasso Edition
Your financial institution is looking for a risk manager, but finding a good candidate has proved very difficult. The best of the bunch are all employees of AFC Richmond, a Premier League soccer (or as they say “football”) team in England.
Who will you choose to run your risk management team?
Current title: Manager, AFC Richmond
Risk appetite: High
Approach to risk: Ted is not afraid of novelty or the unorthodox. His measure of success doesn’t necessarily align with conventional wisdom (i.e., a sports coach that doesn’t see winning games as the ultimate goal).
Ted believes in “romcommunism,” or the idea that that everything will work out in the end. “Now it may not work out how you think it will, or how you hope it does, but believe me, it will all work out. Exactly as it’s supposed to. Our job is to have zero expectations and just let go.” As a result, he puts more stock into the emotional well-being of his staff than in understanding the fundamentals of the enterprise (like knowing about the offside rule). He delegates these details to others.
He’s not one to dwell on the past, advising players to “be a goldfish” because they have a 10-second memory.
People skills: Ted is funny, warm, inspiring, and charming and brings the tastiest baked goods into the office. He wins over everyone he meets, from grumpy journalists to angry bosses. He knows how to shape a team’s culture and bring out the best in his players. “For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.” He’s also willing to forgive other’s missteps (maybe because he’s a goldfish).
Current title: Owner, AFC Richmond
Risk appetite: High
Approach to risk: When Rebecca has a goal, she’s not afraid to break the mold and do something unexpected—including hiring an American football coach in an effort to sabotage her Premier League soccer team just to stick it to her ex-husband. If one scheme doesn’t pan out fast enough, she’s been known to take it to the next level (hiring paparazzi to photograph Ted) without considering the human consequences. No risk, no revenge.
While Rebecca’s leadership has been ill-conceived at times, she’s turned a corner and is more likely to take risks to protect her players and their values (letting player Sam out of a Dubai Air sponsorship even though it’s the team’s largest sponsor) than to stir up trouble.
People skills: Rebecca is strong, confident, and powerful. Headstrong and intimidating, Rebecca also has a vulnerable side. Deep down she’s kindhearted and cares about her team. Just don’t abuse her trust.
Current title: Assistant Coach for AFC Richmond
Risk appetite: Moderate-High.
Approach to risk: Coach Beard will take a big risk (like moving across an ocean to coach a sport he’s never played before), but he does his research ahead of time. He’s a quick study who’s willing to put in the work. He excels at studying and executing concepts—reading books on soccer and British culture in preparation for his soccer coaching gig—and is good at communicating those concepts to others. A man of few words, he calls it like he sees it. Asked to give a rundown of an upcoming match, he describes it as “very physical.” Asked for more detail, he adds “borderline violent.”
Coach Beard doesn’t like to lose, reminding Ted “No, winning’s important. These guys are professional athletes. It means something to their life, whether they win or lose, and we should try to win.” He was a Lumberjack World Championships qualifier. Coach Beard isn’t afraid to show emotion even though he retains an air of mystery. The movie Iron Giant makes him cry every time, and he’ll sing karaoke with the best of them.
People skills: Calm, practical, and low key, he’s a kind and steady presence—but not afraid to speak hard truths (like taking Roy out of the game when he isn’t performing anymore). He can say more with a single word or look than most people say all day. Fiercely loyal, he’s more of a sidekick than a leader, but he will elevate the leader’s performance. Finally, his ability to play chess without a board shows that he has a strong strategic mindset.
Current title: Director of Football Operations, AFC Richmond
Risk appetite: Moderate
Approach to risk: Higgins isn’t particularly strategic when it comes to risk management. He is most frequently an order taker, following the whims of his supervisors. He puts the organization above himself (giving up his office for the team psychologist). He’s not always made choices he’s proud of (helping his last boss to deceive Rebecca), but he’s found his moral compass.
People skills: At first bumbling and forgettable, Higgins has evolved into an accepted member of the team. He is a member of the “Diamond Dogs,” a group created by Ted to try and solve problems.
Nathan “Nate the Great” Shelley
Current title: Coach
Risk appetite: Low
Approach to risk: A former kit man-turned-coach, Nate is organized and detail oriented. He believes small actions can have a big impact, whether it’s mixing the perfect sports drink or making sure no one walks on the pitch. His suggestions and ideas are built on careful analysis and brainstorming from his years quietly observing the team.
People skills: Nate isn’t known for strong leadership or a big personality, but he’s earned the respect of his team. Once quite timid, he often overcorrects when trying to be assertive—making it hard to be his subordinate. He can be a bit of a bully to those below him on the totem pole (especially if he thinks the change in laundry detergent scent is throwing off the players).
Current title: Retired player/Coach for AFC Richmond
Risk appetite: Very High
Approach to risk: What do you mean, manage risk? Why sit and strategize when we could go out and play the game? Roy Kent is a man of action, and he’d rather focus on making an impact than just talking about it.
People skills: If you can get past his profane language and brash approach, Roy is actually a warm person who cares about his family, teammates, and the middle-aged women he does yoga with twice a week. And as a former player himself, he has a wealth of knowledge and insight that he brings to the game. He may be a risk taker, but you can’t deny he’s effective.
Topics: Risk & Compliance