So there we have it…..we can learn about team work from a flock of geese!! Yep, I said it! But how?! Let me explain 4 things that geese can teach us about teamwork.
Have you ever seen a flock of geese fly overhead? I guess it depends on where you live! But if you have you may have noticed that they usually fly in a V formation and there’s a good reason for this.
Research has shown that when a goose flaps its wings, it creates an intense uplift for the geese flying behind. In fact in makes it easier for the geese behind to fly, almost as if they’re gliding along!
Now this teamwork of flying together adds around 70% more flying range compared to a goose flying alone. For example if a group of geese fly from London to Rome (around 900 miles), with the same amount of effort a single goose would barely make it to Paris! So we can see how powerful teamwork is for our geese!
So how can we apply this flying together lesson to our teams?
Well one way is to share knowledge. Each team has various team members with different experience and abilities, some may have been working for the team for many years, whereas others may be fairly new. If we all share knowledge with fellow team members then we contribute to a much better team, we would be flying together as a team!
For example if a less experienced team member asks a question, experienced team members can help. Like the geese who are towards the back of this V formation, the less experienced members of the team can fly on the uplift of the more experienced team members who are ahead of them!
A team can also fly together by following the same procedures, practices and philosophies so that a consistent service is offered to the customer.
Have a look at the photo, towards the front you will see what looks like one of the geese trying to over-take the goose at the front. Why is he doing this?
Well while flying in the V formation, the lead goose cannot possibly stay at the front for the entire journey, frantically flapping its wings while the other geese behind coast along on the uplift of the lead goose, perhaps thinking to themselves “this is easy!” So what happens is that during the journey a goose from the back will take the place of the lead goose at the front of the formation. This happens throughout the journey so that each goose shares responsibility, they all rotate!
So how can we apply this to our teams?
Well every team member also needs to share responsibility, share the load. There might be certain tasks or responsibilities on the team that no one likes to do, but if we work together as a team, we need to take our turn with challenging tasks.
The worse thing we could do is leave a few at the front of the pack frantically flapping their wings, doing all the difficult tasks, while we stay at the back coasting along! So be an active part of the team, get involved and share responsibility!
CommunicateHave a look at the next picture. Can you see the goose at the back with its mouth open? What is it doing?! It’s actually honking at the goose in front! If you’ve ever seen a flock of geese fly overheard then you’ve probably heard how loud they are as well! Yes you’ve heard them honk as they fly overhead!
Now there are several theories as to why they honk at each other but one theory is that they do this to encourage and motivate one another. As if they are saying: “Come on, you can do it, keep going……honk honk!”
Once again how can we apply this to our teams?
Well we need to encourage and motivate each other! If you notice a colleague doing something well, let them know! Honk at them! Also if you notice a colleague finding it hard to keep up with the busy pace on the team, try to motivate them, give them a helping hand! Again honk at them!
Leave no one behind!
Interesting whenever a goose is unable to stay in formation, maybe because its sick or injured, other geese drop out of formation and stay with this injured goose until it can fly again. No one is left behind!
The best teams are made up of people who take care of each other. If someone is falling behind or having difficulty, maybe because they are new to the team, they’re not left behind on their own. Instead their fellow colleagues help and assist them until they can catch up with the rest of the team.
As you can see there is so much we can learn from geese when it comes to teamwork! Just like geese try to reach their destination, our teams can only reach our destination of being world class if we fly together, share responsibility, communicate with one another (honk honk), and leave no one behind!