Lessons from geese

15 September 2009

We can learn a lot from geese

1. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an ‘uplift’ for the bird following. By flying in a ‘V’ formation the flock adds 71 per cent 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 more quickly and more easily because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.
2. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels a 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: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go and be willing to accept their help as well as give ours to the others.
3. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and share the leadership with people. As with geese, we are interdepndent on each other.
4. The geese in formation ‘honk’ from behind to encourage those up front to keep up with their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure our ‘honking’ from behind is encouraging and not something else.
5. 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: If we have as much sense as geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
Milton Olson
in Christopher Gleeson’s
A Canopy of Stars (pp.27-28)

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