As the leaves turn colour and our feathered friends head south for the winter, I’m reminded of some awesome factoids of Canadian Geese.
The following are four science-backed and incredibly cool lessons on teamwork and corporate culture taught by Canada’s national bird:
Lesson 1: Shared Vision
As each goose flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock attains more than 70% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
Take Away: People who share a common vision can get where they’re going a lot quicker and easier when they travel together and trust one another.
Lesson 2: No “I” in Team
If a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
Take Away: Check your ego at the door. You’re no more important than anyone else on the team. Make life easy on yourself and others by staying in formation with those who are headed in the same direction.
Lesson 3: Inspire Through Action
Whenever the lead goose gets tired, it rotates to the back of the formation and another goose flies point. Once at the back of the formation it constantly honks to encourage those up at the front to keep pushing and maintain speed.
Take Away: Tow the line. Take turns doing the hard jobs. Motivate others to do their best—not by telling, but by doing. Don’t accept status quo. Push others to be better versions of themselves.
Lesson 4: Support Others (Even When They Don’t Ask for it)
When a goose gets sick or is wounded and heads to the fields below, two other geese immediately fall out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. In fact, they stay with it until it is either able to fly again or is dead. Then, they launch back on their own or with another formation to eventually catch back up with their team.
Take Away: We all have work, and we’re all busy. But when someone is overloaded, drop whatever you’re doing to help them out (even if they haven’t asked for it). The reason you should do this is simple. The person you help today may be the person you need help from tomorrow.