Having spent over 15 years of my working life helping to grow PrintHouse Corporation into a leading business-to-business Design & Print company with a strong team ethic, several years as part of the successful, results-driven BNI Hammersmith network group, not forgetting the 20+ years playing for the same (admittedly slightly less successful) 5–a-side football team, I feel I’ve experienced at first hand the major benefits that teamwork in various forms can offer.
I was walking around Kew Gardens at the weekend – seeing the numbers of geese reminded me of an article I kept a while ago that showed how they are able to achieve so much more through teamwork, providing a possible lesson for us all – summarised as follows:
Next time you look up and see a flock of geese flying gracefully across the sky, think for a moment how much teamwork is required to cover these great distances successfully.
There are several facts about the behaviour of the flock and individuals within it that can be surprising and teach us a few useful lessons about leadership and teamwork …
As each goose flaps its wings the “uplift” is created for birds that follow – by flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each 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.
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 will stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
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 skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
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 will 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: We should stand by each other in difficult times, not just when we are strong.
The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure all “honking” is both encouraged and encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement sales/production/results are invariably much greater and the working environment a more positive one.
Keep Honking …