Teamwork Lessons from Geese

Canada Geese in FlightAs winter sets in my area has seen an increase in the number of Canadian Geese.  Whenever I see flocks of these birds I’m reminded of the lessons in teamwork that they can teach all of us.  Here are five great teamwork principles we can learn from the migrating geese.

  1. Work together.  When geese fly in the V formation they increase their range by 70%.  This is due to the updraft that each bird creates for the one behind it.  When we all move in the same direction and work in concert we can do more than we can individually.
  2. Share the hard tasks.  When the first bird tires it moves to the back and another one takes the point position.  If we share the responsibilities of the hard tasks that drain our energies we can accomplish more as a team.  As well, sharing the lead will help develop leadership skills in everyone on the team.
  3. Encourage each other.  As they are flying geese honk to encourage the first bird.  This helps them maintain their pace.  By offering encouraging words to our team mates we can help keep their energy up and sustain the progress the team is making.
  4. Stick together.  If a bird drops out of the formation two other geese go with it to care and protect it.  This means that no one goose is ever alone.  When things get tough at work, if we offer to standby our team mate they will get back on track quicker and when you need help they will be there for you. 
  5. Going alone is harder.  When one bird drops out of formation it faces increase wind resistance which drains it’s energy and makes it harder to get to the destination.  It quickly returns to the formation so it regains the benefits of the birds around it.

I’ve always been fascinated by these birds and the distances they cover each year during their migration.  As I reflect on the things they do naturally that make this possible it really makes me wonder why people make work so much harder by avoiding teamwork.  Each year the Canadian Geese serve as a reminder of the power of working together towards a shared vision.

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