Friday, May 14, 2010

Who's on your team?

In Canada, the geese fly in a V-shaped formation with one side of the 'V' longer than the other. There are scientific and practical explanations for this and we should use this nature's wonder to understand the need for synergy in effective teams.

During the flight, each bird's wings create an uplift for the bird behind it. This enables the entire wedge of geese to fly 71% further than a bird flying alone. By tapping on the collective strength of individuals with a common goal and direction, we all stand to benefit.

When a goose starts to leave the formation, it can feel a drag resistance of a solo flight and will quickly get back into the 'V' formation. The lift and thrust of the flapping birds in front lighten the burden of the birds behind. In the same manner, we can be special and choose to fall out of line, but it will make our journey to success a much tougher path to travel as we do not enjoy the support of the people around us.

Just like our leaders, the leading goose may feel the strain and pressure in taking charge. When it drops back another goose immediately takes over the helm. In perfect terms, the mindset should not be one of 'your job' or 'my job' but 'our jobs'. The responsibility is shared and each team member should be prepared to cover each other when the need arises.

Geese do not travel in silence and we hear their honking in flight. Maybe it is their merry singing, but it could very well be their way of encouragement to those in front to keep pace. We don't have to go to the extreme of a cheer leading team. However, words of praise, encouragement and support go a long way in raising the morale of our team members.

Can geese fall sick? Yes, they can and when that happens, at least two other geese will follow a sick bird to the ground. They will protect the bird and when it is well again, they travel together to join the rest of the flock. We should not forsake our team members who need our help, especially during difficult times.

Which are you - are you the leading goose? The number two who is always able to take over the number one? A noise maker and morale booster? A ready helper? Does you team fly in a 'V' formation in the first place?

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