By Robert McNeish, Associate Superintendent Baltimore Public Schools
We live in an area where geese are very common. We see them coming in the Fall and leaving early Spring. Their migration is an awesome sight. There is an interdependence in the way geese function.
FACT: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% 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 one another. A shared vision and sense of purpose create synergy, making the going a little easier for all.
FACT: Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone. It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the “lifting power” of the bird immediately in front.
LESSON: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those we see who are headed where we want to go.
FACT: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.
LESSON: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership–people, as with geese, are interdependent upon one another.
FACT: The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
LESSON: Positive encouragement is a strong motivator. We need to make sure our “honking” from behind is empowering, and not something less helpful.
FACT: When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation to follow him or her down to help and protect their fallen companion. They stay with him/her until [s]he is either able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own with another formation or catch up with their flock.
LESSON: If we have as much sense as the geese, we will learn to stand by each other as we are achieving our goals.