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Team Paradoxes

Like all systems, teams act in paradox: every action makes a meaningful ‘counter action’ impossible. One cannot do something and not do something simultaneously or do something and also the opposite. Teams make a fundamental error, because, for example, they cannot, at the same time:

• involve everyone in the team in all questions (=participation) and cannot give justice to the desire to allow everyone to work in peace without interference (=isolation),
• establish consensus (=overidentification with the status quo) and ensure the necessary flexibility (=conflict)
• serve the subordination of the team members under the team goals (=conformity) and the individuality of the team members (=threat to existence)
• ensure the motivation through new ideas by those that represent the new (=destruction of the tried and tested) and the motivation by preserving the tried and tested by those that represent the old (=prevention of innovation).

These few examples should demonstrate that acting as a team, depending on the observer’s viewpoint, can always be correct and incorrect. Everything can be criticised, everything could also be different or be done differently. System-theoretically one says: everything is contingent and always carries with it self-contradiction. The pattern about how teams handle this, how they become confused, rattled, bogged down, hardened, churned up, desperate, embittered, humiliated, caught in naivety, how they stagnate, concoct pseudo-solutions, cultivate false satisfaction and fixate on one side only, are endless. For this reason, therefore, they often need consultancy, too.