What Effective Executive Leaders Can Learn from Geese--Lesson 1

Sat, Jan 19, 2013

describe the imageYour intrepid Tangle Doctor has been tied up, so to speak, implementing new ways to untangle corporate leadership knots and teaching MBA students how to work well together and be effective leaders. So many tangles, so little time! 

Recently, I came across a metaphor first put forth by Dr. Robert McNeish of Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. McNeish was a science teacher who was fascinated by geese, and why they flew together in a V formation. According to McNeish, when geese fly in formation they can take advantage of the "uplift" from the geese in front. Each time the goose flaps its wings, it helps the goose just behind. The effort of one enhances the effort of all. 

What's the human analogy? In one of my earliest jobs, I worked for a Fortune 500 company that sold health-related consumer products. I was part of a team of ten who worked directly with the national sales force. We put on monthly sales conferences all over the country, for 200-400 people at a time. Each conference was a big production and there was no room for error. Four members of our team handled the behind the scenes logistics, while the rest of us traveled the country, facilitating the meetings and being the "face" of the company. We worked closely together to keep the meetings current, and to continually improve the process. 

Our leader was fantastic at creating a sense of family and team spirit. We were each appreciated for the talents we brought and the success of one of us enhanced the success of all. The jobs were both exhilarating and draining, and our leader encouraged teamwork and camaraderie. Like the geese, we flew in formation, educating and motivating our sales force! 

Enjoy the video below. The visuals are stunning and the music is haunting.

Leaders, a team moving in the same direction is likely to have less tangles, that is, less internal strife and conflict. What are you doing to encourage a common direction and sense of community? 






Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

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