FOCUS: Lessons from Geese

DISCIPLINE: Mental Models, Systems Thinking, Team Learning, Shared Vision

Why can’t we all be more like geese?

I’ve heard the first few honkings from geese flying overhead, and yesterday I saw a V of them. It reminded me of a wonderful piece about geese I first saw years ago. I know that many communities have too many geese (I imagine the geese in those communities saying, “This community has too many people.”) Still each time I read about geese, I think how valuable it will be when we learn these lessons from them.

Lessons from Geese - author unknown

FACT 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "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 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 front 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 rotates 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 arrangement of gifts, talents or resources.

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 where 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.


  • There will not be a telegathering this month, because I will be in California with my family for the memorial service celebrating the amazing life of my father, Leon Eakes, who died last week at the age of 95. He loved me and inspired me for 65 years. I feel very blessed, and I will miss him.

  • Last August the theme of Fresh Views was Contribution, and I told the story of Nyan and Lehka Pendyala, who started “Kids for Sight” to help end childhood blindness in India. They are now semi-finalists in a contest sponsored by AMEX, competing for 1.5 million dollars. These are adorable friends of mine who have already inspired other kids to become generous world citizens. If you have an American Express Account, please vote before September 29. In early October there will be another voting to determine how much each of the finalists wins. Here are the steps I hope you’ll take:
Step 1: Vote – You must be an Amex Card Holder (each card holder gets one vote - may need to create UserID for spouse)

Step 2: Get at least 4 other Amex Card Holders to Vote. Send this email to a group you belong to.

Step 3: When they make it to the Top 5, they will need you to VOTE again to get the $1.5 million.

TO VOTE - Just follow this link (for instructions, see below or call 1-800-297-7500 and Press "0", if you have problems voting):

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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