Friday, December 25, 2009

A Lesson From Geese

Once again my trusty feathered friends helped me out in a big way with my final oral defense of my case study. The case study I was given dealt primarily with instructional supervision. There were 4 teachers in the case in question that were exhibiting sub par performance when it came to formal and informal evaluations. My task was to review the research and apply the most up to date information in creating and proposing a plan of action. The final document was just under 150 pages. Once the written document was approved it was on to present and defend my stand orally. I was able to use this analogy, a lessons from geese to clinch it! I even ordered geese lapel pins for those on my panel and our school board members. It was a success! I graduate this month with my Master's in Educational Leadership, thanks to my geese!

A Leadership Lesson from ……….. GEESE!

If you ever happen to see 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.

(From: 7 Moments That Define Excellent Leaders, Lee J. Colan,

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