LESSONS FROM GEESE
Those of us who work in dental practices can benefit from a study of group dynamics. Watching geese fly south for the winter should remind us of some basic truths. We need to take the lessons learned from the migrating “V” of geese into the area of strategic planning for our practices.
1. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates “uplift” for the bird following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if one 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.
2. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly returns to the 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 who are headed where we want to go (and be willing to accept their help as well as give help to others). There is a place for the “lone goose” who follows a different dream. If he does not share his dream with others and enroll them, he will continue to fly alone.
3. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the formation and another goose flies at the point position.
LESSON: It pays to take turns doing hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with the geese, we are interdependent on one another. None of us is as smart as all of us!
4. The geese honk from behind to encourage those in front to keep up their speed and proper direction.
LESSON: We need to make sure that our honking is encouraging — not something else!
5. When a goose is ill, 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 is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation, or catch up to the flock.
LESSON: If we have as much sense as the geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong. We have the choice to grow and develop our soaring skills as lonesome eagles or synergistic geese.
PS. When turkeys and ostriches do not see a bigger picture, they end up as Thanksgiving dinner or a pair of boots and a hat decoration.