(2 minute read)

There are countless examples and case studies of teamwork and collaboration from within sporting organisations and successful corporate teams, but what about from within the animal kingdom?

Attributed to the observations of naturalist, Milton Olsen, there are 5 Life Lessons in Teamwork and Collaboration which can be learned from our fine, feathered friends – based upon the V-style flying formation of Cape Barren Geese.

Fact One: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds following it. By flying in a V-formation the whole flock adds seventy one percent greater flying range than if the bird flew alone.

Lesson #1: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

Fact Two: 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 #2: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go, and be willing to accept their help, as well as give ours to others.

Fact Three: When the lead goose gets tired it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point position.

Lesson #3. It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. With people as with geese, we are interdependent on each other’s skills and capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts and talents.

Fact Four: The geese in formation ‘honk’ from behind, to encourage those in front to keep up their speed

Lesson #4. We need to make sure our ‘honking’ from behind is encouraging – and not something else. In groups, where there is greater encouragement against great odds, the production is much greater with the power of encouragement.

Fact Five: When a goose gets sick, or 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 can fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own with another formation to catch up with the flock.

Lesson #5. If we have as much sense as geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

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