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Look deeply and you'll see that highly successful businesses, departments and individuals are most likely successful because they model that success from others. Tony Robbins often talks about "standing on the shoulder of giants" and modelling success from those who have already achieved it. Although geese are hardly giants, these modest birds can teach us a great deal about leadership, cooperation, team work, and persistence.
LESSON 1: Rotating the Lead
How do they stay in such perfect V-formation for such long lengths of time and how do they travel thousands of of miles every year, arriving at their destination successfully? Researchers studying geese have found that when flying in formation there is always one goose leading the group at the front, directing the flock where to fly. However, it's not always the same goose directing flight. The geese take turns to rotate this role so that each leader has a chance to rest and to be at full strength when they have to take the lead once again. In business/ at work, you don't always have to lead from the front. As long as people know where they are heading, anyone can take the lead. Sometimes it is wise to take a step back and allow someone in your team to take the lead for a while. This delegation will not only free up your time to focus on other tasks, it will also encourage your team members to step up and take on more responsibility as well as improving their skills and empowering them.
LESSON 2: The Flying V
The V shape that geese form is to make it easier for them to travel such long distances. The formation creates something called "uplift" enabling them to travel over 70% further than if they were flying on their own. Doing so allows the whole flock to benefit as the front goose creates a slipstream that makes it easier for the geese at the back of the formation.
How can leaders of the business or department create formations that will help uplift their teams so that they can achieve in the long haul? How can you rotate responsibilities so that everyone gets a chance to lead in front and to rest at the back? How can you continuously uplift your team?
LESSON 3: Support Those Falling Behind
When one of the geese gets ill or is too weak to keep up with the flock it doesn't just get left behind to fend for itself. Instead two other geese will drop down and stay back with it until it is strong enough to once again join the flock.
How can you employ a similar strategy with your team that are maybe struggling? Remember they are still part of your team. If they are left to figure things out for themselves its unlikely that they will be able to get back up to the same level as the rest of your team. But is you assign two strong team members to mentor, coach and support the struggling person they may quickly learn the sills needed to once again make a full contribution to the team.
LESSON 4: Honk
Geese are notorious for honking during flight. This "honk" or honking noise comes from the back. The reason they do this is to signal to the lead goose that everything is "ok" at the back and to encourage everyone to keep on going. In a similar way you can encourage your team to celebrate their successes and honking in different areas. It doesn't have to be big successes, it can be little things; and building a culture of encouragement and accountability in your team will help you to achieve goals more effectively as well as making it more fun!
LESSON 5: Be a Great Team Worker
A goose on its own will not be able to make the long Trans-Atlantic journey. They can only achieve this remarkable feat because they work together as a flock. They have buddies and they know each other very well. If one of them is having a bad day they can pick each other up.
Think about how you can build genuine relationships within your team. Some ideas could include team social and building events. It doesn't have to be big get-together's; it could be something as little as going for drinks once a month or even going for lunch.
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