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Example of a Team Preservation Pattern

The team preservation pattern of our example team becomes strikingly visible by the fact that any interest shown, regarding the concerns of the rest of the organisation, immediately becomes suspect. If one speaks to others, then it is to convince them about one’s own solution or to persuade them about the disadvantage of their concerns – but not to question one’s own issues or to seek paths which move towards others. To ensure there are no misunderstandings: this pattern is a ‘team’ pattern and not a characteristic of the people involved (who have shown completely different behaviour patterns in other teams!). The identity of the team is constructed in such a way that one is placed as a developer at the cutting edge of engineering. Thus, they are placed there, where the answers, and not the questions, reside. This makes it possible and necessary that one takes orientation from oneself and not from the rest of the organisation.

Therefore, on the one hand, the department leaders can more easily follow their own priority problem orientation. At the same time, though, the area manager, as the boss, is put into a precarious position: he is then perceived by the team not as one of them but as one of the ‘others’, if he comes to the meetings with the concerns of the organisation. Immediately he loses influence, is exposed to mistrustful communication and one is defensive. Defensive routines become established, enemy images are erected and cultivated. This all happens as a matter of course and with the best feelings. In all cases, one feels chronically misunderstood and undervalued in the contribution to the organisation.

The pattern lies very close to the thoroughness and security-orientated team style. One can see which problems arise, when the task is hyper-complex and the speed requirements of the organisation and of projects are high.