Friday, March 27, 2009

The Geese Story - Team Building & Leadership Lessons from Nature!

Yesterday evening I was enjoying the weather (finally it was raining for a moment in the mid of summer) from my backyard and I could hear a funny sound coming from the big pond behind my house compound wall. So like any curious person I rushed out to see what the sound was. Sure enough there was a family of Geese trying to cross the pond. It was so beautiful to see the Geese in the evening sunshine and I have never seen them so close.

This group of Geese reminded me the wonderful story which I use for training to learn the basics of Team building & Leadership.Well, is there any link between the Geese & Team building ?

We know Team building skills are critical for our effectiveness as a Manager or Entrepreneur. People in every workplace talk about building the team, working as a team, but few understand how to create the experience of team work or how to develop an effective team. Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than yourself.

We do have some lessons from Geese which provides a perfect example of the importance of team work and how it can have a profound and powerful effect on any form of personal or business endeavor. Geese take full advantage of the power of their group, sharing leadership responsibilities and flying in a structure that enables the flock to leverage the strength and power of its individual members, sometimes numbering in to thousands. It is said that the Geese can make an annual round trip journey of more than 5,000 miles at a speed of 50 mph or more!

I am sure the Team building & Leadership lessons from the geese can be helpful in our workplaces. Lessons from Geese was originally transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien and was based on the work of Milton Olson.We can use the following five lessons in our personal and business life and it will help us to foster and encourage a level of passion and energy in ourselves, as well as those who are our friends, associates or team members.

Lesson 1 - The Importance of Achieving Goals

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "UPLIFT" for the birds that follow. By flying in a 'V' formation the whole flock adds 71 percent extra to the flying range.

Outcome : When we have a sense of community and focus, we create trust and can help each other to achieve our goals.

Lesson 2 - The Importance of Team Work

When a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front.

Outcome : If we had as much sense as geese we would stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Lesson 3 - The Importance of Sharing

When a goose tires of flying up front it drops back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Outcome : It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks. We should respect and protect each other's unique arrangement of skills, capabilities, talents and resources.

Lesson 4 - The Importance of Empathy and Understanding

When a goose gets sick, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to the ground to help and protect it.

Outcome : If we have as much sense as geese we will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong.

Lesson 5 - The Importance of Encouragement

Geese flying in formation 'HONK' to encourage those up front to keep up with their speed.

Outcome : We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups and teams where there is encouragement, productivity is much greater. 'Individual empowerment results from quality honking'.

I'm quite sure our fine feathered friends, the geese don't spend a millisecond thinking about the Team building & Leadership lessons they provide. They teach us that we can accomplish more when we work together as a team. Individual talent, as impressive as it may be, will only be multiplied when that person joins forces with others.

People who share a common vision, mission, and purpose, like the geese, attain that goal faster and more efficiently when they work together. Just as the geese generate thrust as they travel together, our team's thrust will allow us to accomplish more when we stay together. The geese also teach us that staying in formation gives a bonding and makes it better than going alone. Unity in the workplace is defined not by a pat on the back when we succeed, but in lifting up a team member's hand when he is down. A unified team wants everyone to succeed.

Finally, the geese teach us that someone has to take the lead and someone has to honk from behind. Each team member brings different skills and abilities to accomplish the goals. Sometimes, we may be the person to bring the team to victory. At times, someone else may have the right talent and skills to accomplish the mission, and therefore we must fly in formation from the back; honking our support with enthusiasm.

So, the next time you see geese flying above, take a moment to remind yourself just how smart they are, and what we can learn from them. The geese teach us to work as a team, work together in unity, share the hard jobs when it comes to leading, and honk from behind to encourage others.

What does your honk say about you? Don't forget to visit my website www.winnerinyou.in for more!

Shamim

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Shamim,

Thank you for sharing the story.The articles on your blog page are quite interesting.Keep the good work going.

Regards,

Vivek Krishna Govind

Partner, Varma &Varma Chartered Accountants

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shamim and that was a good one….
Anil Menon

Anonymous said...

THANKS FOR THE GOOD ONE. REGARDS.---V.K.SINGH

Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful article shamim

DK, Pinnacle

chacko said...

Dear Shamim,
Thank you for the wonderful story connecting nature with management technic.I am amazed note lesson no 4.As you know,ants and bees show wonderful team work
Regds,
C.Joseph
ASA Kerala

Anonymous said...

Brilliant !!
I will be sharing these inputs with my colleagues in industry. We all have a lot to learn !!

shyam nichani

Anonymous said...

Dear Shamin,
I have been reading your stories.
Excellent! Thank you very much for updating the same.Keep in touch.
Rtn. Dr.Prakash Chandran

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Shamim,

Thanks a lot for sharing these wonderful tips. They are so useful to everyone!

regards
Sudeep Chandramana

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shamim for all the interesting articles. Let me have a good look at them and I would like to share my thoughts on the same.

Thanks once again and please do continue your good work.

Regards

Soundar

Soundararajan Ethirajan
Tata Consultancy Services

Berry said...

Love the geese story - will use when I am teaching

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