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Lessons from Geese

By John Murphy


As geese flap their wings, they create an uplift for the bird following. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if any bird were to fly alone. If we share a common direction and a sense of community, we can get where we are going more quickly and easily because we are traveling on the thrust of one another!

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. If we have as much sense as geese, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go, and we will be willing to accept their help as well as give ours to others.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point position. If we take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership as with the geese, we become interdependent with one another. The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. If we "honk," we need to make sure it is positive and encouraging.

When a goose gets sick or wounded or is 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. They then launch out on their own, with another formation or catch up with the flock.

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. Let us all try to fly in formation and remember to drop back to help those who might need it!

Behold the Power of Teamwork
The greatest accomplishments in life are not achieved by individuals alone, but by proactive people pulling together for a common good. Look behind every winner and you will find a great coach. Look out in front of every superstar and you will see a positive role model. Look alongside every great achiever and you will find caring people offering encouragement, support and able assistance.

Rising to this level of interdependent thinking can be challenging and difficult. Looking beyond oneself, asking for help or accepting help can feel risky. But people are not given life to simply take from one another. We are here to give. Our mission in life is to offer our gifts to benefit one another, to create mutual gain in the world. This is called teamwork, a win/win mindset stemming from a genuine commitment to the rules that allow it to happen.


An excerpt from Pulling Together by John MurphyThe author presents the ten rules for high performance teams in a way that every person in your organization can understand. John is a highly recognized author (7 books), speaker and management consultant who has helped some of the world's leading organizations create environments that value and reward teamwork.


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