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Reflecting upon Team Paradoxes

Leaders and consultants must be able to recognise and reflect upon the patterns in handling decision- and action paradoxes. Some of the main observation points for detecting these patterns are:

• Is there a fixation on one pole) (“We have always done it like that!”)
• Is there uncontrolled oscillation between the polarities? (“Oh, we didn’t want to do that! So, it was wrong after all!”)
• Is there high frequency oscillation between the polarities? (Chopping and changing, sometimes trust and then again control.)
• Are there ‘truths’ in the team which are unquestionable (= fixation on one pole)?
• Does the assessment of the past lead to adhering to the past (= innovation weakness)?
• How threatening is the simultaneous activation of opposite poles in the team? (Does ‘this as well as that’ lead to sharp conflicts?)
• Does the adherence to a plan lead to a lack of adaptation to new opportunities? (= Are flexibility and control in sight?)

These questions refuse a schema of right/wrong but draw the attention to the appropriateness of an action strategy regarding the respective present or to the interaction with the unintended consequences of a decision in the past.