15 Sep 2010

Lessons from Geese

I have long collected inspirational quotes and thought as a new feature to this blog I would share some of them here - along with others that make me smile or get angry! You will be able to see previous inspirations by clicking on the label below - but of course this is the first - so no others yet - although some might have seen the Arundhati Roy quote in the column on the right:
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy
Anyway folk will no doubt have come across this 'Lessons from Geese' in various forms. I still like it, as team work is one of the key ways we can make things happen....

Lessons from Geese

Fact 1 As each goose flaps its wings it creates an 'uplift' for the birds that follow. By flying in a 'V' formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. Lesson - The Importance of Achieving Goals People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact 2
- The Importance of Team Wor 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. Lesson If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact 3
- The Importance of Sharing When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. Lesson It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

Fact 4
The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Lesson - The Importance of Empathy and Understanding We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact 5
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. Lesson - The Importance of Encouragement If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Lessons from Geese was transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and was based on the work of Milton Olson. It has since circulated in several organizations across the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the honking one is a bit dubious--what if some of the geese think they're going the wrong way...maybe a raspberry is needed instead?