What We Can Learn From Geese
~Rev. Lucinda Schersing~
The next time you are in a meeting or any situation where you feel overwhelmed, remember the Teaching of the Geese! If you find yourself in a managerial position and feel uncomfortable, remember the Geese!
I cannot think of anyone who has heard the “Honk! Honk!” and not looked up in wonder at the famous “V” formation of geese migrating. There are so many wonderful insights these beautiful birds can give us, if we but take the time to ponder upon them and apply them to our life.
Let us begin with the first thing we notice about geese. They fly in a “V” formation. There are a couple of reasons for this. The goose at the point is usually the strongest and the others form up behind it. As the goose flies there are many loud honks from the lead and from the ones behind it. The reason they do this is to communicate and encourage each other.
The two lines of geese following are arranged so that the stronger ones are closer to the front of the “V” and the flapping of their wings forms a windbreak of sorts for the one behind them and they increase their flight distance by about 71 percent.
When the lead goose tires it will drop back to the very end of one of the lines to rest. One of the geese behind the lead goose takes over leading the gaggle. This process continues until they stop for the night or reach their destination.
What can we learn from this lead-and-follow dynamic? We learn that even the strongest of us tire. There is no shame in allowing someone else lead for a while.
We learn that communication is key for any endeavor. When we tire we make mistakes. Sometimes a few words of encouragement can help us maintain our course for a little while longer so that we can accomplish far more than we ever thought we could.
Strong leaders sometimes lead and sometimes they follow. It does not really matter if you are at the front of the line or at the end of the line, as long as we reach our common destination, together.
So, what can geese teach us in regard to business?
As each goose flaps its wings it creates an uplift for the other geese that follow. By flying in a “V” formation the whole flock adds 71 percet of extra flying range.
Lesson #1: Entrepreneurs who build reliable teams, “vendor networks” and strategic alliances accelerate the growth of their businesses faster, better and with less effort.
When a goose falls out of formation it feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. Every goose quickly moves back into “V” formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the other geese in front.
Lesson #2: Entrepreneurs who willingly accept feedback from their target market accelerate the growth of their business faster, better and with less effort.
When the lead goose tires, it drops back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up with their speed.
Lesson #3: Entrepreneurs who “honk” at their team members and vendors with encouragement accelerate their personal productivity and business growth faster, better and with less effort.
When a goose gets sick, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to assist and protect it. Entrepreneurs who protect their their teams can grow their businesses even during economic downswings.