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Teamwork Lessons From Geese

Assistant Head of Primary, Sara Berenguer, talks about interdependence and the importance of cooperation and teamwork in the work environment. She believes we can learn a lot from geese, their natural instinct towards maintaining an effective flying formation, and how one can apply these lessons to their workplace.

  • Sara Berenguer

A colleague gave me a book recently called 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen R. Covey. Having been rather put off by the title at first, I nevertheless gave it a go and was very surprised by the author's message. That a 'Growth Mind-set' featured highly was not a surprise - after all, at Regents it is deeply embedded in our teaching and learning philosophy right from Early Years. However, what did get me reflecting was the importance the author put on 'interdependence' - how we interact with others, both at home and in our workplace. This in turn led me to think of 'Lessons from Geese' by Dr Robert McNeish - a motivational talk which carries a strong theme of cooperation and teamwork.

Lesson 1 - The importance of achieving goals

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a 'V' formation the whole flock adds 71% to its flying range. Likewise, people who share a vision and live their values travel on the trust of one another.

Lesson 2 - The importance of teamwork

When a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone and quickly moves back to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front. This is surely about staying in formation with those headed where we want to go, as well as being ready to give and accept support when needed.

Lesson 3 - The importance of sharing

When a goose tires of flying up front, it drops back into formation and another goose flies to the point position. It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and we should respect and protect each other's unique arrangement of skills, capabilities, talents and resources.

Lesson 4 - The importance of empathy and understanding

When a goose gets sick, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to the ground to help and protect it. Standing by each other in difficult times is crucial.

Lesson 5 - The importance of encouragement

Geese flying in formation 'honk' to encourage those up front to keep up with their speed. In groups and in teams where there is encouragement, production is much greater when there is quality honking!