Lessons From Geese

I have the privelage of serving on the Mercy Hospital Community Coucil under the leadership of Rosemary Younts.  Rosemary is heading up a $5 Million fundraising campaign for a new, state of the art Emergency Department at Mercy Hospital of Folsom.  I’ve been fortunate to come to know Rosemary and have benefited from her depth of experience, generosity and character.  I’m confident that we’ll complete the fundraising effort that is currently seeking a closing gift of $300,000.

It is the custom to have a moment of inspiration at each of our council meetings.  Rosemary shared “Lessons From Geese” in our most recent meeting and I’ll think you’ll agree that we can learn a great deal about being more effective humans from Geese:

Lessons From Geese

Fact #1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates and “uplift” for the birds that
follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying
range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and a sense of community can get
where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the
thrust of one another.

Fact #2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and
resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take
advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in from of it.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those
headed where we want to go. We are
willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact #3: When the lead goose tires, it rotate back into the formation and another
goose flies to the point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on
each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents and

Fact #4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep
up their speed.

Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where3_26_5_geese_43_1
there is encouragement the
production is much greater. The power of
encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart
and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact #5: When a goose gets sick, 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 dies or is able to
fly again. Then, they launch out with another
formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in
difficult times as well as when we are strong.

“Lessons from Geese” was transcribed from a speech given
by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and was based
on the work of Milton Olson. It circulated to Outward Bound staff throughout
United States.


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