Recapping Speak Week 2022: 5 Lessons We Can Learn From Ted Lasso (with no spoilers, we promise!)

Recapping Speak Week 2022: 5 Lessons We Can Learn From Ted Lasso (with no spoilers, we promise!)

The team at Speak Creative spans wide–from Memphis to Nashville, with remote team members all across the country, and even some outside the country. This past week, we had the opportunity to all meet up at the Memphis office (with a few of us on Zoom) to work hard, play hard, and take home some life lessons along the way. 

This year’s annual Speak Week was themed Believe and took inspiration from all things Ted Lasso. The Speak Week planning team surprised everyone with soccer balls, dart boards, pink biscuit boxes, and even personalized jerseys that really brought us together as a team. Throughout the week, we used Apple TV’s hilarious and heartwarming show to demonstrate some applicable lessons we can use to better serve our partners. 

Read on for our full recap of Speak Week 2022. 


1. Believe. 

On the morning of our first day gathering as a full team, our fearless CEO, Jacob Savage, discussed Ted Lasso and the power of believing. Just like in the locker room of AFC Richmond, we hung the one-word reminder above the door of our conference room, and just like Coach Lasso, Jacob reminded us of Speak’s overarching purpose: to help our clients tell their stories so they can do their work in the world. To do this takes belief—in our work, in our team, and in ourselves. 

Jacob walked us through our main goals as an agency for 2022, and got us all excited about the possibilities this year holds with the belief that we can overcome any challenges that might get in the way. 

A Tennessee-based creative agency seems a far cry from a British soccer team, but by the final day of Speak Week, we were wearing the word Believe proudly on jerseys of our own. 

2. Empowerment and Confidence Give Everyone a Voice.

On day two of Speak Week, we got to hear from Anthony House, the owner and operator of a Memphis Chick-fil-A branch, on how Chick-fil-A is able to maintain a positive, successful brand image. House spoke about Chick-fil-A’s founding belief that they are not in the chicken business, but in the people business. It’s clear the company really seems to live this truth, through everything from responding to thank-yous with “my pleasure,” to the team-focused ads they choose to run rather than advertising whatever latest menu item they’ve rolled out. 

One of the more poignant nuggets of information (ba dum, tsss) House provided was that when a company allows every teammate—from cashier to kitchen staff to general manager—the trust and power to make decisions that benefit people, those team members not only feel more confident and empowered in the work they do, but the result is also palpable to customers. 

Coach Lasso knows the power of giving individual confidence to every member of the team. Throughout his first season with AFC Richmond, he consistently values getting to know everyone on the team, from Richmond’s owner to the players. He prioritizes learning what they value in their work over running drills (and not just because it makes for better TV). Lasso even goes so far as to utilize a play suggested by Nate, Richmond’s kit man—perhaps the lowest ranking role in a football club—and the team reaps the reward of instilling confidence in Nate to use his voice. 

After listening to Mr. House, our own team discussed how we can use Chick-fil-A’s people-first model and effort to go beyond the extra mile for their customers in our own work. We came out of day two with the reminder that all of our voices make Speak what it is, no matter our roles, and with a newfound excitement to apply a "second mile mentality" as we move through 2022. 

3. Be Curious, Not Judgmental.

On day three, leadership coach Bob Willumsen spoke with our team about confident communication, which he called “the key to greater organizational performance, relational influence, and personal wellbeing.” Willumsen brought loads of great input about leadership at the personal level to the professional level, and began his discussion of the key to effective communication with the lesson to be curious first, not judgemental. 

To be curious rather than judgemental is to seek mutual understanding over being right. It’s to desire to learn the why’s of another person’s feelings rather than jumping into disagreement straight away. It’s communicating with the knowledge that not everyone thinks and feels the way you do, or has the same core values that drive their decision making. This scene from Ted Lasso perfectly illustrates the difference between being judgemental and being curious: 

Our work as a creative marketing partner to our clients requires great, and curious, leadership and excellent communication, and taking the time during Speak Week to break down what that looks like will only make us a better partner for our clients going forward. 

4. Be a Goldfish.

In an early episode of Ted Lasso, when a player makes a mistake on the field, Coach Lasso calls him over to talk. The player, Sam, is apologetic, but Lasso is quick to give this piece of advice: The happiest animal in the world is a goldfish because it has a 10 second memory. Be a goldfish. 

When we make mistakes, or when things go wrong, it’s okay, and actually better, to move on rather than dwell. On the final day of Speak Week, our VP of Client Partnerships, Kindra Svendsen, discussed the ethos of Speak, that is, the characteristic spirit of our company as it is shaped by our core values and beliefs. 

Kindra reminded us of the values that shape us: we value people first, we value everyone’s voice, and we value sharing the stories of others. 

Our culture does not reflect the trend of hustle culture, but instead it is one that is centered around support, growth, and not being afraid of change. Before we wrapped up our time together, we made sure to recognize current challenges to our systems and structures, and we dove head first into making effective change that will positively impact our company and culture. Our leaders emphasized not dwelling on these challenges or complaining, but to reframe change in one of the following ways: 

“I see a problem, and I want to help solve it.” 

“I see an opportunity, and I want to help realize it.” 

In this way, we will strive toward growth through being willing to change, and change well, and we will remember when we misstep, to be a goldfish. (Though we definitely won’t be forgetting this week for a long time to come!)

5. Invest in Relationships… and Don’t Forget to Have Fun! 

Throughout Speak Week, our internal marketing team asked each of our in-person team members what their favorite thing about working at Speak is, and the resounding answer was the people. There’s no denying that we have an amazing team at Speak, and getting to use this week to gather only strengthened it. 

Our other work didn’t stop—we still met with our clients and stayed on track with scheduled projects, and we even launched one client’s new site during Speak Week. Making this week happen without pausing the work we do for our clients surely required extra energy from many of our team members. (Extra special shoutout to our Office Manager, Chelsea, who handled much of the planning and organization around Speak Week… and most importantly, kept us fed!) But Ted Lasso reminds us that investing in relationships and creating moments together that matter is truly worth it. 

Between all of the amazing lessons, discussions, challenge-boarding, and creative changemaking, we remembered to use this rare time that we were all gathered as a team to step outside of work and just have fun together. On day one, we spent part of our afternoon at Main Event, where we split into teams for some healthy competition through bowling, arcade games, and laser tag. 

FYI, our champion bowler was Jordan, one of our videographers, and our Director of Agency Marketing, Jessica, outscored everyone in laser tag! 

On Wednesday, we visited Memphis Escape Rooms. Every team managed to escape, which we maybe need to add to our list of what makes up Speak’s culture. “We are puzzle solvers and escape artists.” 

And, on Thursday, we crowned our 2022 Team Choice Winner, BJ Maxwell, our Director of Finance, who was voted by the rest of the team for the way he exhibits our core values. BJ keeps things interesting in and out of the office with his passion for milkshakes and office-golf and his thousands–yes, thousands–of Slack messages in our team chat. Want to learn more about our Team Choice award winner? Stay tuned for a blog post that’ll give you a closer look at what we all see in BJ. Well, besides his infamous Stank Face gif. 


Gathering yearly for Speak Week and taking time out of our work lives to have fun together reminds us all why, when asked our favorite part of the work we do, our team is the majority answer. We’re able to grow closer as a team, which will inevitably benefit the work we continue to do together. 

So that’s a wrap on Speak Week 2022! We’re so excited about the path we’ve laid for what’s to come in the new year. 

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Posted by Claire Grace at 13:36