Lessons From Geese1
Succession planning is a natural part of an organization’s growth and development. In nature, geese exhibit this process including group dynamics, challenges, and team work visually. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates ‘uplift’ for the bird following. By flying in a ‘V’ formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if the bird flew alone.
- Lesson People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier 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.
- Lesson We should stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go and be willing to accept their help. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the lead position.
- Lesson It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and share leadership – we are interdependent. No-one can go on – nor will lead – forever, and everyone at times take turns riding at the back.
The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
- Lesson We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging – and not aggravating.
When a goose gets sick or 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 is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation or catch up with the flock.
- Lesson We should stand by each other through the tough and the easy times.
Consider how many of the ‘geese lessons’ you
automatically use, and which of these could easily be
implemented in your association
1 Milton Olson