Team Elements – Elegance: Summary

by Ron Potter

We’ve looked at three of the four sections that will help us build great teams: Truth, Respect, and now Elegance.  This week’s blog is a summary of the Elegance portion that has been written about over the last three weeks.

Elegance is made up of Simplicity, Focus, and Role Clarification.


Simplicity:  We all know the old adage KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid.  I love old adages because they’re built on truth, even if they are a little rude like this one.  But the point is right on target.  Keep It Simple!  Once we start adding complexity to an issue, it becomes less elegant, more prone to mistakes, missteps, miss understandings, and missed results.  Our human brain is lazy and overloaded.  It looks for ways to simplify things so we have the capacity to understand and deal with complexity.  The more we simplify the greater chance the team has to perform together.


Books have been written about how our modern technology is not only destroying our focus but is destroying our ability to focus.  That’s scary to me.  But, like any muscle or ability, we can enhance that ability through dedication and practice.  You’re not going to be in good physical shape without regular exercise.  You’re not going to be a good reader without reading on a regular and disciplined base.  You’re not going to be focused without regular exercising of focus.

In every case, the concept is simple but the execution is difficult.

  • Go out for that walk, run, or bicycle ride on a regular basis.  Get to the gym several days per week.  Seems simple enough.  But it takes dedication and determination
  • Pick up that book rather than turn on the TV or flip through social media or complete just two more games on your phone.  Seems simple enough.  But, there we are, watching TV, finally looking up from our social media not realizing that we just spent an hour.  Time is more valuable than money.  We can always earn more money.  But, once you spend that hour, ten minutes or even ten seconds on something frivolous, it’s gone forever.  You’ll never get it back.  Focus.

Role Clarification

This one is a negative, not a positive.  While simplicity and focus are things that will greatly enhance teams, demanding that everyone stay in their “swim lane” or just do their role well and don’t worry about everyone else is a negative when it comes to great teams.  Yes, good teams rely on everyone knowing and doing their roles well but great teams tend to blend and mix thinking and perspectives in order to come up with the best solution.  Great teams function more like orchestras where the parts blend well together and are much richer and stronger in harmony they are as individuals.


Elegance is the third leg of our team journey.  It’s an important and positive leg but is more subtle than the previous two.  When we’re not sharing the truth or showing respect, it’s obvious.  When our Elegance is slipping it is not always to see it happening right away.  Stay diligent on this one.  Look for the signs of Elegance waning.  Build an Elegant team.  It’s powerful!

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