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Working as a Team using the ‘Goose Story’

We work as a team in many different circumstances, at work and at home, personally and professionally. We know teamwork is imperative to ensure success.

Geese can teach us a great deal about teamwork. I remember when I came across the ‘Goose Story’, many years ago and have been intrigued ever since. They can teach us a great deal.

Below are five things we can learn about teamwork from geese:

  1. Working Together

Their iconic V shape isn’t just aesthetics but a way of them working together as a team. When each bird flaps its wings, it creates a lift for the other birds so they can fly together with less effort. Flying in formation means they use less energy, perform better, reach their destination quicker.

Lesson Learned: Having a common goal means they are more efficient and effective; working as a team creates success; using the strengths of team members.

  • Supporting Others

When a goose falls away from the formation because of injury or sickness, two other geese will stay with it until it’s able to fly again, working together to catch up with the rest of the flock.

Lesson Learned: As a team we are only as strong as our weakest member; reach out to support others when they need help; find a solution to help them to keep up with the team.

  • Sharing Leadership

The V formation means that the goose at the front has the hardest job of all. To avoid fatigue the position of the front goose rotates between all members of the flock. This means that the hardest position is shared by the whole flock.

Lesson Learned: To ensure everyone’s skills, knowledge, experience and talents are utilised; sharing roles of leadership and supporter means everyone grows within their roles; less pressure is put on one individual; sharing responsibility and leadership whilst focusing on the one goal.

  • Giving Feedback

Whilst flying in their V formation, geese can be heard honking loudly whilst flying. It’s felt this is a way they communicate with each other to encourage the flock during their long flights. It’s also thought the geese are acting as supporters honking at the leader to help them maintain their speed flying towards their goal.

Lesson Learned: Communication is vital and regular communication should happen continuously between all team members; celebrating progress, giving positive feedback, encouraging efforts means the team is engaged, encouraged, supported and constantly moving towards success.

  • Positive Culture

Geese are creatures of habit, always migrating using the same route, always returning to the same areas on each flight, maintaining their purpose or goal year after year.

Lesson Learned: Determining a team’s purpose is important so everyone has ownership and understands the team’s culture and common goal. Being aware of the team’s vision, mission and values ensures respect of and for each other.

Takeaways – Consider what you might be able to take away from the Goose Story, whether it’s as a parent with your children, in a team at work or in a business.

How might you be able to use some of these strategies to improve the way your team works?

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