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 Post subject: the V formation of Flying Birds
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:52 pm 
Observation # 1
In the fall when the winter ahead is still only hints in the air, geese depart from Canada for southern environs in a dramatic illustration of anticipation.
Learning: Despite the fact it is sunny and warm in September, the flock recognizes and anticipates the arrival of December freezing. Survival requires the abilities to anticipate future needs on a regular basis and to consider both short-term and long-term needs. What works today is no guarantee of tomorrow's success. Geese never get complacent with the comfort of today.
Observation # 2
When the time arrives for the flock to depart from Canada in the fall, every goose knows that if it does not or will not to take off, it won't get the chance to see spring.
Learning: There is no free lunch. Unless your flock lives on a government preserve, there is no free entitlement guaranteeing your security. The modern day price of freedom and empowerment is anxiety and accountability. For leaders, it is immoral not to prepare your people for these demands.
Observation # 3
As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an "uplift" for the birds in its wake. By flying a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range rather than if each bird flew alone.
Learning: The "V" formation of geese demonstrates the concept of "synergy". Simply put, it is the notion that one plus one equals two plus or more than two. A flock of geese, when properly aligned, is far more efficient and capable than a collection of individuals. Like geese, we are existentially responsible for our own performance, and we must "choose" to "fly", but we do not have to choose to do it alone.
Observation # 4:
Geese take turns leading the V-shape formation. When the lead goose becomes tired it simply peels of the front and tucks back into the rear of the formation. There it can take a break and benefit from the aerodynamic advantage of the uplifting current created by the birds' wings immediately in front of it.
Learning: In order for every goose to be able to take the lead, every goose has to be clear about the destination. The direction is clearly established and every leader strives to help to help get the flock there. Everyone contributes leadership and "the leader" is simply the goose that is out in front breaking the wind (a talent that many hierarchal managers have already perfected).
Observation # 5: Geese adjust there organizational structure to the task at hand.
Learning : The formation depends specifically on what results they are out to accomplish at any particular time. For example, when they have to migrate great distances they fly in wedge to conserve energy. As they take off and land, they do it with great honking waves. The formation and social architecture of the flock remains flexible depending on the immediate task or challenge in front of them. The organizational question is always "What is the most, simple, elegant, efficient design that will accomplish the task before us?"
Observation # 6: Geese are great communicators, and feedback is constant.
Learning: Geese have the uncanny ability to decipher sophisticated messages from the nuance of honking. Geese motivate each other through constant encouragement. Geese alert each other to danger and utilize honking to celebrate the day's success when they land at the end of the day. Geese have developed the key attribute of good communications - the acute ability and desire to listen to one another.
Observation # 7: When a member of a flock is sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation to support and protect it. They stay with the afflicted until it dies or is able to fly once again. When ready to rejoin the flock, they simply launch out with another formation or they work together to catch up with their flock.
Learning: Teamwork means never allowing another team member to fail. Any group is composed of people who are fallible human beings. In order to create a "learning culture," where individuals and teams are willing to take risks and try things differently, there must be an atmosphere where mistakes are viewed as opportunities to learn. In such a culture the team rallies around the individual experiencing difficulty rather than abandon him.

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