Relating Flight Patterns of Geese to Business Transformation and Teamwork - dummies

Relating Flight Patterns of Geese to Business Transformation and Teamwork

By Roger Burghall, Vince Grant, John Morgan

Over the years, there’s been a lot of research into the flying patterns and behaviours of geese. And there’s much we can learn. You’ve probably seen geese flying in a ‘V’ formation, but do you know why they do that?

As each goose flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a ‘V’ formation, the whole flock gains 71 per cent greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. It’s all about sharing a common purpose, direction and sense of community. The flock can get where they are going more quickly and easily as they are travelling on the thrust of one another. It’s so much easier for them to find True North that way.

The lesson for us is clear and the lessons continue. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

So, if we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go – our True North. And, of course, we are willing to accept their help and give help to others to keep the journey on track.

When the goose at the head of the flock tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies the point position. They are taking turns doing the hard tasks and sharing in leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on one another, something that will be a vital factor in meeting the challenges of the journey ahead.

Recognition and encouragement are really important. The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those in front to keep up their speed. We need to make sure our ‘honking’ is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is far greater.

When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, 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. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

The analogy here is focussed on providing support when things go off track and corrective action is needed.

If we have as much sense as these geese, our journey to True North should be somewhat easier, though it will never be easy!