Ted Lasso, Management Guru

He doesn’t know soccer, but he does know people. Is there a lesson in there?

Good morning!

Here are today’s highlights:

  • The data support remote work.

  • There are lots of ways to raise prices.

  • The six-figure job openings are no longer concentrated on the coasts.


Ted Lasso, who doesn’t know anything about soccer but knows how to get the best out of people, has emerged as a management guru: “Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder needed some help dealing with a tricky situation at work not long ago. He took advice from one of his favorite television shows. ‘I don’t know if you watch Ted Lasso,’  he said. ‘But sometimes your favorite animal is a goldfish because it has a memory of 10 seconds. That’s where we need to be.’ There was something curious about one of the NBA’s brightest minds borrowing a Ted Lasso pep talk. He could have leaned on decades of experience to get his basketball team past a stressful moment in the playoffs. He decided to invoke the folksy wisdom of a fictional American football coach managing an English soccer club.”

  • “It turns out he’s not the only person in professional sports channeling his inner Ted Lasso these days. ‘It should be required watching for coaches,’ Snyder said.”

  • “Tyranny is out. Empathy is in. Coaches are getting the most of players by relating to them, not dictating to them, while keeping them accountable without coddling them. They are behaving more like Ted Lasso.” READ MORE


Last month, at the Tugboat Institute Summit, I heard one of the best talks I’ve ever heard at a business conference and one of the few to get a standing ovation. It was given by Mel Gravely, who is CEO of TriVersity Construction and who is about to publish a book called “Dear White Friend.” On Tuesday at 3 ET, Mel will join me for a 21 Hats webinar conversation about how he managed to become CEO/owner of a Cincinnati construction business, why he chose to write a book addressing the issue of race, and what he would ask of other business owners. Bring your own questions. REGISTER HERE


On Ladders, there are now more job listings paying six figures for remote work than for work in any one city: “There are currently 80,360 openings for jobs paying $100,000 or more that are fully remote on Ladders, a job search website focused on positions paying six figures in the U.S. and Canada. That’s more than in any one actual city, outpacing San Francisco with 68,777 openings and New York with 64,681 positions. The only other California city on the top 15 list, Los Angeles, has 34,965 openings.”

  • “‘Two years ago, remote would not have made the top 50 list, so it’s an enormous change,’ said Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella. ‘This is really the biggest shift in how we work since the invention of the automobile.’” READ MORE

Some lost jobs simply are not coming back: “As with past economic shocks, the pandemic-induced recession was a catalyst for employers to invest in automation and implement other changes designed to curb hiring. In industries ranging from hotels to aerospace to restaurants, businesses have reviewed their operations and discovered ways to save on labor costs for the long term. Economic data show that companies have learned to do more with less over the last 16 months or so.”

  • “In May 2020, as Covid-19 surged in the U.S. and the travel and hospitality industries cratered, the chief executive of Host Hotels & Resorts, a large operator of Hyatt and Marriott hotels, described the pandemic ‘truly as an opportunity to redefine the hotel operating model.’”

  • “CEO Jim Risoleo said the hotel chain planned to limit housekeeping at many of its properties and reconfigure its food and beverage operations. ‘It is really going to be opt-in to housekeeping services as opposed to opt-out going forward,’ he said during a November call with analysts and investors.”

  • “Applebee’s is now using tablets to allow customers to pay at their tables without summoning a waiter.”

  • “Firms pay around 25 cents in taxes for every dollar they pay workers, compared with 5 cents for every dollar spent on machines because companies can write off capital investments, he said.” READ MORE

Goldman Sachs says the data support letting employees work remotely: “The investment bank found that productivity in the U.S. economy increased just over 3 percent per hour since the start of the pandemic, largely in industries that adapted to remote work and less travel. That's more than double the 1.4 percent per hour growth in the period prior. Productivity is the measure of goods or services workers produce per hour on average. Many companies have been able to cut costs on things like office rent, furniture and equipment, holiday parties, client events, and work travel. With the continued evolution of business models, including automation and increased worker efficiency, Goldman Sachs expects to see productivity to rise by about 4 percent by 2022.”

  • “Gains were highest in jobs like IT, professional services, and product development that were able to accommodate virtual meetings and did away with in-person costs associated with travel and entertainment.”

  • “Right now the cost of rental cars, gas, hotels, food, and airfare are all on the rise, making travel, whether for work or pleasure, even more expensive.”

  • “To be sure, working from home comes with its own set of problems. At the same time American workers were more productive, they were also more burned out.” READ MORE


Staffing apps are helping restaurants through the labor shortage: “Staffing apps can match candidates to roles through software and virtual training. Fliptable, which is based in Vermont and launched last month, uses artificial intelligence to connect managers with workers through a profile and Tinder-like swipe interface. Snapchef recently launched a training program with an online culinary school called Rouxbe geared toward workers entering the industry. The program covers food safety, knife skills, and basic ingredient identification to offer new workers a leg up in the job process.”

  • “If a line cook or dishwasher calls in sick, David Lanci turns to ... Snapchef.”

  • “‘It saves us money because I don’t have to have a float team,’ said Lanci, chief executive and co-founder of NexDine, a Massachusetts-based dining service used by schools, hospitals, and senior living facilities. ‘I can just pick up the phone, deal with the app, and my people get qualified candidates.’” READ MORE


A restaurant shut down for a “day of kindness” to support staffers dealing with rude customers: “The final indignity came last Thursday, when a man berated one of the restaurant’s young employees for telling him that they could not take his breakfast takeout order because the restaurant had not opened yet, said Brandi Felt Castellano, the co-owner of Apt Cape Cod in Brewster, Mass. ‘I never thought it would become this,’ she said. So Ms. Felt Castellano and her spouse, Regina Felt Castellano, who is also the head chef and co-owner, announced on Facebook that the restaurant would close for part of that same day to treat the restaurant’s employees to a ‘day of kindness.’”

  • “‘Many of us didn’t survive the pandemic,’ Brandi Felt Castellano said of restaurants in an interview on Tuesday. ‘For people to be this aggressive towards the ones that have is disheartening.’” READ MORE


A study suggests that Boston may never be the same: “From its surveys of hundreds of businesses and residents in April, McKinsey found that more than one-third of local employers plan to pare back their real estate footprints over the next two years. As a result, demand for office space could drop by up to 20 percent, and commuter rail usage could fall between 15 and 50 percent from pre-pandemic levels, the report said. Meanwhile, some retail activity would shift to the suburbs and online, as the daily trek downtown becomes less common. And up to 5 million fewer business travelers could visit Boston annually by 2030, a drop of nearly 30 percent, leading to an overall decline of 15 percent in total passengers at Logan Airport.”

  • “McKinsey estimated that as many as 300,000 to 400,000 jobs will be eliminated or phased out over the next 10 years, many in support positions such as office administration or the hospitality industry.”

  • “That means as much as 10 percent of the labor force could have to find new lines of work over the next decade in a changing economy.” READ MORE


Everyone’s finding ways to charge more for food: “Big food makers and restaurant chains are raising prices, cutting their own costs and trying other strategies to offset higher expenses. Between shrinking grocery-store packages and fewer restaurant discounts, shoppers are paying more for their meals whether or not they notice it.”

  • “Tillamook, a dairy co-operative in Oregon, shifted to 48-ounce ice cream containers from 56 ounces while keeping the price the same, in the face of higher costs.”

  • “More convenient packaging can also carry a higher price, like Kellogg Co. ’s new snack-packs of cereal. Food company executives said it helps to provide consumers something new and interesting to justify charging more.”

  • “Restaurants are similarly shrinking portion sizes, a tactic some owners prefer over raising prices ...”

  • “It can be a risky move if consumers catch on and feel jilted, said Andrew Pawling, chief operating officer of family-owned food maker FoodStory Brands.” READ MORE


Episode 68: Does It Matter What You Name Your Business? When Dana White chose a name for her business, she decided she wanted a name that had meaning—both for her and for the women she hoped to reach. When Laura Zander picked a name for her business, she thought she was going to be selling coffee. And when Jay Goltz chose a name for his business, he very strategically chose the perfect name to rank well in—wait for it—the Yellow Pages. This week, Dana, Laura, and Jay talk about what they consider the most important decisions they made in building their businesses—including why Dana closed her most profitable location, why it took Laura 15 years to find an operations person, and what Jay figured out about employees who struggle to grow with the business.

If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren