The Wisdom of Geese
One of our past clients, Jack Murray Director of COI, heard an unusually interesting speaker at a conference. As a result he produced and circulated this article for his staff.
We found it both amusing and thought provoking and completely relevant to project leadership. With his permission we have "borrowed" it. We hope that you also enjoy it.
The following was written by Milton Olsen, the naturalist, and is about the five facts that you may not know about geese - together with some lessons for human beings. These five facts are the wisdom of geese, and the lessons are all about co-operation - especially the last.
As each bird flaps its wings it creates an uplift for the bird following it. By flying a 'V' formation, the whole flock adds 71 per cent greater flying range than if the bird flew alone.
- People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are travelling on the thrust of one another
Whenever a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
- If we have as much sense as a goose, we will work in formation with those who are headed where we want to go and be willing to accept their help as well as give our help to others.
When the lead goose gets tired it falls back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.
- It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. With people, as with geese, we are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents and resources.
The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.
- We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging, and not something else.
When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of the formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it gets better or dies. They then launch out and join another flock or catch up with their formation.
- If we have as much sense as geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.