This is the fourth post in a series contributed by the Feedback Incentives Learning Group, a group of funders convened by Feedback Labs that are dedicated to encouraging peer funders to listen to the people most harmed by the systems and structures they seek to change and to supporting their grantees to listen as well. In this blog series, learning group members share their insight into and experiences with encouraging foundations and nonprofits to listen and respond to the people who are most impacted but often least consulted by philanthropy and nonprofits. The first blog in this series is here, the second blog is here, and the third blog is here. We hope this series provides inspiration and guidance for those looking to listen better and, ultimately, encourages action

When Ted Lasso, the beloved character from the TV show by the same name, arrives in London as the new head coach of Richmond FC, he is viewed as a farce by players, media, and fans alike. Ted knows nothing about soccer. He doesn’t know the rules or the right terms and in his first press conference, he can’t name a Premier League team or more soccer players than “Ronaldo, and the fellow who bends it like himself.” Despite his lack of direct knowledge about the sport, Ted understands his role is not to shout orders from the sidelines, control every minute of every game, or hyper analyze every loss. He believes that if he helps his players develop trusting relationships they will learn to adapt to whatever an opponent throws at them and that, ultimately, long-term success will follow.

While we aspire to understand more about the systems we work in than Ted does about soccer, he embodies a spirit that Omidyar Network is also working to emulate as a funder in a number of ways.

  • Play the Long Game
  • Lead with Listening & Relationships
  • Know What You Don’t Know
  • Stay Flexible and Trust the Team

Read the full article about lessons from Ted Lasso by Clara Bennett and Jessica Kiessel at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.