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Top Teams and Team Reflection

Top teams are always tempted to take up information (presentations) and to make decisions, because of the decision-making necessity of the organisation. In an environment like this, such teams face several dangers:

• Reflection is put aside due to lack of time. One acts. In acting, though, one also acts when one ought to do nothing, overestimates one’s own knowledge or that of a colleague, quickly sees oneself confirmed in one’s own presumptions and belittles inconsistencies and small doubts.
• Practicing shared reflection, and with it, the avoidance of ‘down loading’ (C. O. Scharmer) is underestimated. Top managers are accustomed to knowing and having clear opinions. To enter into dialogue with questioners, to keep subjects in balance, to do without overestimating oneself, without judging and devaluing that which is unusual and different, all this must be systematically practiced and cultivated, otherwise there is a pull towards repetition of the status quo.
• Practicing the conscious creation of opportunities for reflection is the task of the CEO or the business leader. When he decides to create reflection routines, he always opts for a certain ‘loss of power’, for transparency, for criticism which is also directed at his own person, as well. Not everyone likes this.
• The potential for offence is usually higher in top teams than in other teams. The ability to perceive one’s own (and not only other’s) inadequacies, to regard these as normal or even important and to allow other people to address these inadequacies, is not self-understood with top managers, rather, it is easily avoided.

Therefore, one requires a conscious decision to regularly not decide in top teams. This can be a time slot in each meeting, or during each agenda item, and recurring exercises, which are then not loaded up with decision-making requirements, but make available open and free reflection time for all guiding processes.

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