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What can we learn from geese?

October 20, 2011

'Individual empowerment results from quality honking'

What have geese, business, leadership, management and networking got in common, well…

It is well recognised that there are many lessons from geese that can be translated into any business. In fact a quick trawl on the Internet will reveal hundreds of sites where there are parallels drawn between management, business and the animal world.

There are 5 key lessons

Goose fact 1.  As each goose flaps it’s wings it creates 71% more uplift for birds that are following, so by flying in formation the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than by flying alone.

Lesson

By getting the team to share a common direction and sense of community then you can get to a destination quicker and easier because all are travelling on the thrust of one another

Business perspective

For any business to be successful then the team needs to share a common purpose. Your vision, supported by the values – an holistic goal – not just profit, not just sales – something that encompasses the people – your team, your customers.

Goose fact 2. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying and quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

Lesson

By adopting the awareness of geese we will stay in formation with those headed in the direction we want to go.  We are willing to accept their help and to help others.

Business perspective

By heading towards our common goal of it is easier to work as a team.  The message is easily understood and eminently transferable to all team members.  A simple message is found in team; Together Each Achieves More.

Goose fact 3.  When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson

It pays to take turns to do the hard tasks and share the leadership.  As with geese we are all interdependent upon each other skills, capabilities and the unique arrangement we have of gifts, talents and resources.

Business perspective

As the leader of the business, by definition, you are the vanguard, but by sharing responsibilities (and in the course of this, developing future leaders) within the management team and getting all of the team involved the harder tasks become easier.

Goose fact 4. The geese flying in a formation will honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson

We need to ensure that when we honk we honk encouragingly.  In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater.

Business perspective

With an achievable goal in sight constant encouragement is needed, not only from the leader to the team but from the team to the leader.  Celebrate milestones on the journey to your final destination and share with the team the euphoria that a ‘team effort’ creates.

Goose fact 5.  If a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it.  They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again.  They then launch out in their own formation to catch up or join another flock

Lesson

If we have as much sense as geese then we will stick together in difficult times as well as when we are strong

Business perspective

A business going through difficult times needs the support of the whole team, working with each other to overcome the difficulties.  This will manifest itself not only at a local, site level but also from a group, corporate perspective with stronger sites/teams supporting and sharing best practise with others.

If an individual member of the team is having difficulties then how often is that individual supported and encouraged, to eventually comeback stronger and willing to encourage others?

If we can learn this from geese imagine what we can do by learning from each other!

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