7 Lessons Learned from Geese
1. Sharing a common goal: As each goose flaps its wings it creates “uplift”, aerodynamically reducing air friction for the birds that follow. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock achieves a 70% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: Those who share a common direction and goal can get where they are going quicker and with less effort because they benefit from the momentum of the group around them.
2. Increasing visibility: Flying in a V-formation, increases the visibility as every goose can see what’s happening in front of them.
Lesson: Make learning visible. Visibility enables both students and teachers to see trouble spots, engages, supports and empowers the group to achieving better results.
3. Empowering others to lead: When the lead goose in the front gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and allows another goose to take the leadership position.
Lesson: Empower others to take the lead. Micro-managing and keeping tight control leads to burn out, disengages and demotivates. Everyone has unique skills, capabilities and gifts to offer. Building autonomy, trust, and providing an equal chance to shine will offer surprising outcomes.
4. Recognizing good work: Geese honk to recognize each other and encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: Make sure we give praise and the recognition deserved. Recognition is vital in maintaining motivation. Lack of recognition is one of the main reasons employees are unsatisfied and quit. This may also hold true for students to stay in school, unless encouraged by their friends, peers, teachers, family and elders.
5. Humility to seek help: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the friction of flying alone. It then quickly adjusts its mistake and moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: Adjust one’s approach to face challenges and overcome obstacles, and to seek help if we get stuck.
6. Offer support in challenging times: When a goose gets sick or wounded, one or two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Only then do they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: Stand by each other, especially when things get difficult and we face challenges, that’s when your teammates need you the most.
7. Stay committed to your core values: Goose migration routes never vary. They use the same route year after year, even when members of the flock change. The young learn the traditional route from their parents, and in the spring the flock will make the journey back to the place where they were born.
Lesson: Learn to stay true to one’s core values. Times may change, but tradition helps us to maintain focus on the group’s common purpose.