Team Elements: Level 4 Happiness

by Ron

The last Thursday post was an Introduction to Teams. Teams are at the heart of great performance, the greatest happiness, and the best memories. This post starts a deeper breakdown of the elements involved in building and maintaining great teams.

In describing Level 4 Happiness, Aristotle used five words:

  • Truth
  • Love
  • Purpose
  • Beauty
  • Unity

Purpose is the word right in the middle of all five. I don’t spend a lot of time concentrating on Purpose because it is so essential and obvious.

That doesn’t mean it’s not important. I’ve already described it as essential! Without a purpose, there is no team. Without a purpose, it’s just a group of people. They may enjoy each other and have a lot of fun together, but without a purpose, they are not a team.

Team Elements

The bigger issue I often see is a lack of aligned purpose and many times conflicting beliefs on what the purpose is or should be. It is essential that teams align on and commit to a focused purpose. But that’s a topic that would require several blog posts to cover. For these blog posts about Team, I’m going to focus on the four team elements:

  • Truth
  • Love
  • Beauty
  • Unity

I’ve read different books and papers with slightly different words in the last slot. The one that I see most often is Justice, but I’ve focused on the element of Unity because it applies so directly to great teams.

I also try to use team elements that more directly apply to the business environment. Elements like love and beauty are words you don’t often hear in corporate meetings. Using elements that essentially mean the same thing as the original words and yet seem appropriate in the corporate world, I’ve modified the last three words in an attempt to make them immediately identifiable and to help you remember them. The four team elements I’ll explore are:

  • Truth
  • Respect
  • Elegance
  • Commitment

Truth

Truth remains truth for obvious reasons. If a team can’t speak the truth with each other, they will never grow or prosper as a team. However, we need to spend some time discussing the truth. Some of the findings may surprise you.

Respect

The Greeks had several words that all get translated into the English word Love. The Greek word for Love that Aristotle used had nothing to do with emotions or the feeling of love that we have for another person. This word referred to treating the other person with respect. As human beings, we seem to have an innate sense that someone respects us or not. Great teams require great respect (love) for each other.

Elegance

Beauty may be one of the hardest words to understand in a business sense. I’ve chosen the word elegance because Elegance is beauty that shows unusual effectiveness and simplicity. Effectiveness and simplicity are the hallmarks of highly productive teams.

Commitment

I’ve chosen the word commitment here for two reasons.

  1. Commitment is the observable outcome of unity. In team meetings, unity is often expressed by words or a nod of the head, but how one behaves away from the meeting is a clear demonstration of unity.
  2. Commitment leads us to an acronym that helps us remember the four elements.

TREC

The acronym TREC sounds the same as the word TREK. The definition of a TREK is “A trip or movement especially when involving difficulties or complex organization: an arduous journey.”

Building a great team in a complex organization during difficult times is an arduous journey.

  • First, it’s a journey. It goes on for a long time. I might even say it’s an epic journey
  • Second, it’s a strenuous effort; difficult and tiring.

But it also provides the highest level of happiness. When you talk with people about their great memories in life, they will often talk of the time than spent on wonderful teams. The obstacles they overcame. The accomplishments they achieved.

Let’s start this TREC together and see if we can uncover the secrets of building and being a part of a great team. I guarantee it will bring you great happiness, even during a tiring, difficult, arduous journey.

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