Learn From The Geese

What can we learn from the behaviour of Canada geese?

Geese really look after each other and we can learn a lot from them.

Lessons from Geese:

1. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if the bird flew alone.

Lesson: Teachers who share a common vision, direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

2. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the 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 sharing leadership – teachers are interdependent on each other.

4. The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up 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, teachers will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

These lessons from geese provide a brilliant example of the importance of team work and how it can have a profound and powerful effect on a school. Using these these five principles will help us to foster and encourage a level of passion and energy in ourselves, our colleagues, our parents and the whole community. It is essential to remember that teamwork happens inside and outside of school when it is continually nurtured and encouraged.
The different departments and individuals within a school generally pull together and work as a team. This interdependence is vital but it doesn’t always happen and when the geese aren’t helping each other then this can lead to flapping about and a lack of direction.
“Lessons from Geese” – from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organisational Development Network and is based on the work of Milton Olson.

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