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Top 7 Facts & Lessons Learned From Geese

By Christopher M. Knight

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  1. Fact: 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 72% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

    Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of another.

  2. Fact: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

    Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give out help to others.

  3. Fact:When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

    Lesson: It pays to take turns going the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, and resources.

  4. Fact: The geese flying formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

    Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

  5. Fact: When a goose gets sick, 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 dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

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

  6. Fact: Geese fly South for the winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Lesson: It is a reminder to take a break from the cold of winter and take a vacation to some place warm & sunny to rejuvenate ourselves.

  7. Fact: The larger flocks of geese usually inhabit areas where geese eating for humans is more popular or in demand, and where there are smaller flocks of geese flying, there is usually smaller demand for geese, to be used for human food. * This fact according to the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents study on geese.

    Lesson: Larger flocks of humans together may not always be as effective as smaller flocks who are able to maneuver much more quickly in life and business without being eaten up by the to speak. ;-) (yes, this was a stretch, but relevant, no? :)

    Lesson #2: The smart geese know to not fly with the big herds, and create their own niche flying circle or game.

    Special Bonus For Top7Business Members, while we're on the topic:

    Top 7 Breeds of Geese:

    • African

    • Chinese

    • Diepholz

    • Embden

    • Egyptian

    • Pilgrim

    • Toulouse

Where did Today's Top7Business issue come from?

Facts 1-5 can be found floating around the Internet, some saying author unknown and states Milton Olson as the original author.
The following has made the rounds of leadership development circles for several years and is widely available on the World Wide Web, though its origins are generally cited as "unknown" or "anonymous." We found this version on Outward Bound's home page. According to Outward Bound, "'Lessons from Geese' was transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and was based on the work of Milton Olson. Soon after, it began circulating among Outward Bound staff throughout the United States."

Another handful of Geese sites:

Facts 6, 7 and the Bonus Top 7 Breeds of Geese are from me, Christopher M Knight, to add value to the Lessons Learned from Geese

This Piece Was Submitted By Entrepreneur, Author, Business Builder and Email/Web/Internet Strategist, Christopher M. Knight.

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Article Submitted On: September 05, 1998