What we can learn from Geese
• Lessons in Teamwork: What We Can Learn From Geese
In the Lectures and Resources folder, view the 3:25 minute video called “Lessons of the Geese.” You can also read the PDF document shown here, but please do view the video. It’s worthwhile and you’ll enjoy viewing it.
When geese fly in formation, we can’t help but look up and marvel at their beauty. But their behavior also represents successful teamwork patterns that have evloved over the ages.
Your Task: After viewing the video, then reading the PDF document shown here, and after reading Chapter 2, type a memo to the instructor (M. Heikkinen) and discuss what teamwork lessons might be learned from each of the following:
a. The V formation helps each follower goose derive energy from the flowfield generated by the goose immediately ahead. Every bird experiences lower drag and needs less energy to maintain its speed.
b. Whenever a goose gets out of formation, it tries to get back into formation.
c. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the head.
d. The geese flying in the rear of the formation honk, apparently to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
e. When a goose gets sick or wounded and falls, two geese fall out and stay with it until it revives or dies. Then they catch up or join another flock.
Directions for submitting your assignment:
1. Type your memo following the instructions shown above. (See pg. 342 for a sample memo format.)
2. Save the file on your computer as: FirstnameLastname-Wk2-2.6-Teamwork
3. Click on the Wk2-Lessons in Teamwork Assignment link above.
4. Click on the “Browse” button to attach your file.
5. Once you have attached your file, click on the “Submit” button to send your file to your instructor for grading.
Lessons of the Geese.pdf
Lessons of the Geese
In the fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in the “V” formation, you
might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way.
It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately
following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each
bird flew on its own. Quite similar to people who are part of a team and share a common direction get
where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the trust of one another and lift each
other up along the way.
Whenever a Goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to
go through it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the power of the flock. If we
have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation and share information with those who are headed
in the same way that we are going.
When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wings and another goose takes over. It
pays to share leadership and take turns doing hard jobs.
The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep their speed. Words of
support and inspiration help energize those on the front line, helping them to keep pace in spite of the dayto-day
pressures and fatigue. It is important that our honking be encouraging, otherwise its just, well—
Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded and falls out, geese fall out of the formation and
follow the injured one down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until
he is dead, then they launch out with another formation to catch up with the group. When one of us is
down, it’s up to the others to stand by us in our time of trouble. If we have the sense of a goose, we will
stand by each other when things get rough. We will stay in formation with those headed where we want to
The next time you see a formation of geese, remember their message is that …
”It is a reward, a challenge and a privilege to be a contributing member of a team.”