Recently I came to learn that geese migrate south in winter and north in summer and the flock of them flies in a V formation.
It is pretty amazing to learn that scientists have determined that the V-shaped formation that geese use when migrating serves two important purposes:
First, it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired.
In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest.
The authors of a 2001 Nature article stated that pelicans that fly alone beat their wings more frequently and have higher heart rates than those that fly in formation. It follows that birds that fly in formation glide more often and reduce energy expenditure (Weimerskirch, 2001).
The second benefit to the V formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group.
Flying in such a formation may assist with the communication and coordination within the group.
Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason.
Who would have known that which nature generously offers! There were quite many calculations and science to it as I read the article but I will skip those and come to the seven learning points that I can lift from.
So here goes:
1. Sharing a common goal helps you and your business goals faster
As each goose flaps its wings it creates “uplift”, an aerodynamics orientation that reduces air friction, for the birds that follow. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock achieves a 70% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
The lesson we can learn here is that people who share a common direction and goal can get where they are going quicker and with less effort because they benefit from the momentum of the group moving around them.
Making sure your team and company are aligned towards a common goal takes active approaches and monitoring. It also requires fine-tuning from constant feedback from the team too.
2. Increasing your company’s visibility
Flying in a V-formation increases the visibility as every goose can see what’s happening in front of them.
The lesson here is to make our organization’s goals visible and clearly communicated to everyone in the company.
The starting point is to have a lean organization structure so that there is lesser red tape and faster communication or error-correcting both quicker and easily implemented.
It is also important to communicate across to the public so that your vendors, customers, and publicists are made aware.
They need to know what the values they are buying into.
3. Adopting a humble approach and seek help when needed
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the friction of flying alone. It then quickly adjusts its mistake and moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
The lesson we can learn here is to be humble to admit the challenges or mistakes that we face and to seek help as soon as possible so that we do not break the momentum and synergy of the team.
By so doing, helps you, your team, and your company to move faster and do more.
4. Empowering others to lead
When the lead goose in the front gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and allows another goose to take the leadership position.
The lesson here is to empower others to take the lead.
You do not have to be always the one leading especially when you know certain fields your other teammates may have better skills, connections, and experience to carry out.
Micro-managing and keeping tight control will burn you out. It will also disengage and demotivate others around you.
People have unique skills, capabilities, and gifts to offer.
Give them autonomy, trust and a chance to shine, and you will be surprised with the outcomes.
Be a bigger person and let others have the stage sometimes.
5. Be generous in recognizing and praising great work
The geese honk to recognize each other and encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
The lesson here to make sure we recognize and praise people when they deserve.
Lack of recognition is one of the main reasons employees are unsatisfied at work and give up.
It is very common for people’s efforts to go unnoticed by their peers in a busy and fast-moving work environment. Worst when some teammates who are more able to express themselves which many a time steal the glory from the quieter and contributing teammates.
Make an effort to call out fellow team members whom you realize are always quiet in meeting and when called upon to speak, they are usually very reserved.
These are the ones who usually give you wonderful workable ideas!
6. Offering support in challenging times
When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it.
They 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.
The lesson here is to stand by each other in difficult times. It is easy to always be part of winning teams, but when things get difficult and people are facing challenges, that is when your teammates need you the most.
This step is tricky especially if you do not spend time enough to learn of each other lives.
Learning to care and notice people requires effort, energy and above all time to do so.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
7. Staying committed to core values and purpose of your business
The geese migration routes never vary. They use the same route year after year.
Even when the flock members change, the young learn the route from their parents.
In Springtime they will go back to the spot where they were born.
The lesson to learn here is to stay true to our core values and purpose of your business – be focused.
Strategies, tactics, and products may change in order for an organization to remain agile, but great companies always stick to their core purpose and values and preserve them at all costs.
Incidentally, when you do this long enough, it becomes a company culture and culture brings the company further.
People who buy the company culture will also tend to stick together longer.
As a sales coach, I would usually encourage and help business owners set a system to help them monitor their development and progress.
With proper documentation and process, it will be easier to identify weak areas and implement changes to it.
For a start, you may use this simple method or system that I have created. It is conveniently name
A – Assess.
It is always wise to know what you have, how it cost, who your competitors are, where your resources come from, who are allies etc. Like what Sun Tzu says “Know thy self, thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
List them down and make informed decisions from them.
I – Implement
Ideas are worthless if you do not try them out. If you are concern about the cost and control of the outcome, do a small scale one. We call that “Pilot test” in the software world.
Gather as much knowledge and experience from there and put them into good use later.
D – Detour
Always come back to the main drawing board to evaluate whenever you have implemented something. Check to see if you might have missed out something that could be detrimental or useful.
However, do thread this step with care because a business will be stuck if they do not have the confidence to launch full force for fear of anything.