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Leadership Lessons from Our Feathered Friends

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Ever wonder why geese fly in a “V” formation?  I did… and after some research, this is what I found out… by flying in a “V” formation, geese are able to reduce air resistance by 65%, resulting in an increased range of 70%!  They accomplish this feat by following slightly above the lead goose on either side of its wings, taking advantage of the updraft created by the member of their flock in front of them. When the lead goose tires, it drifts to the back and the next goose in line moves up to the lead position. During the journey, the geese constantly communicate to each other (scientists believe this assists in keeping the formation in line).  To maximize lift and reduce drag, geese also flap their wings in sync with the leader.  Should a member of the flock become injured during the flight, two geese will break formation and follow them down to the ground, staying with their teammate until they either recover or die, and then continue on their mission objective—talk about teamwork!

The most intriguing aspect of my research was that there is no designated “leader of the pack” with a flock of geese—it is a shared leadership model that relies on every member of the group assuming a lead role in getting the team to their destination.  In essence, each member of the flock accepts the responsibility of leading the organization to their intended destination—in a manner that substantially leverages energy and resources.

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