How often do you hear people speak with envy about companies with real heart? Companies like Nordstrom, FedEx, Ben and Jerry's, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and The Container Store to name a few. Outsiders are constantly looking for their secrets to success. Fact is, the secret lies in the hearts of their employees. These companies create connected teams and, as a result, build dominant businesses by acting like geese. Like geese? Yes, like GEESE!
If you ever happen to see (or hear about) geese heading south for the winter - flying along in V formation - you might consider what science has discovered about why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew by itself. Any goose that falls out of formation suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into position to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.
When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the set and another goose moves up to fly point. And the geese in the back honk to encourage those in front to keep up their speed. Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen teammate until it is able to fly or it dies. Only then do they launch out on their own - or with another formation - to catch back up with their group.
The lesson: Like geese, people who share a common direction and sense of community, who take turns doing demanding jobs, and who watch out for one another, can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of their teammates. Geese are defined by how they stay connected with one another. Successful teams - and excellent leaders - are defined the same way.