Geese can teach humans about partnership, teamwork

Lt. Cmdr. Ron Kennedy, chaplain, 30th NCR

Lt. Cmdr. Ron Kennedy, chaplain, 30th NCR

We can learn a lot about partnership from geese.

Team building is an integral part of any organization. This is especially true within the U.S. Navy. Thus, in this article, I’d like to talk about the principle of partnership.

Partnership isn’t always easy to achieve. Why is partnership so difficult?

John Maxwell, an expert on leadership, wrote these salient words regarding partnership:

“You can hoard what little you have and receive no more. Or you can give what you have, and you will be rewarded with abundance. Your attitude makes the difference. So if you partner with another person and give generously, one way or another, you’re going to get back more than you gave.”

A good leader will do things exceedingly well. A great leader will build a team and do things exceptionally well.

I just returned from training in Columbia, S.C. I saw geese daily. Geese can actually teach us all a lot about leadership.

Winging their way to a warmer location, these birds often cover thousands of miles before reaching their destination. Have you ever thought about why they fly as they do? It is really fascinating what has been discovered about geese’s flight pattern as well as their in-flight instincts.

The geese in front rotate their leadership. When the lead goose gets tired, it changes places with another goose within the V-formation.

By flying as they do, the members of the flock create an upward air current for one another. Each flap of the wings literally generates lift for the bird immediately following. One author states that “by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock gets 71 percent greater flying range than if each goose flew on its own.”

The geese in the rear of the formation are the ones who do the honking. Perhaps, this frequent honking encourages the geese in the front to keep flying. That’s a good example of partnership.

Interestingly, two healthy geese will leave the formation in order to escort a wounded or sick goose to a safe location.

Whether it’s rotating leadership from the front, flapping, helping or simply honking, the flock is in it together, which enables them to accomplish what they set out to do — move to a warmer climate.

Thus, the practical application of the partnership principle is relatively straightforward: If we work as a team, we will be far more effective. This is the principle of partnership.

We learn a lot from geese.

© 2012 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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NSWC Port Hueneme and representatives from eight allied, international navies joined forces on April 7 to establish a unified strategic plan for modernizing and sustaining the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) on a global scale, yielding enhanced worldwide fleet readiness and collective maritime strength against ever-evolving threats.
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