There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. -Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 6Let’s think about the idea of “The Wisdom of Flying Geese” as we lead our teams and also as we follow others. So many animals have great instincts. I really like basic truth #4.
The Wisdom of Flying Geese
In the Spring, when you see geese heading North for the Summer or South in the Fall, flying along in “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what scientists have discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.
By flying in “V ” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
Basic Truth #1– 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 one another.
Whenever 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.
Basic Truth #2- If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same direction as we are.
When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
Basic Truth #3– It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, with people or with flying geese.
These geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Basic Truth #4– We need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.
Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group.
Final Truth– If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.