Birds 1-resizeWhen you think of a team, what comes to mind? A basketball, football or soccer team? Or simply a group of professionals working together? Have geese ever come to mind as a working team? My mother once wrote a poem about a flock of geese and simply stated, why they fly together and it reminded me of the saying, “Birds of a feather, flock together.”

Birds of a feather, flock together:
Have you e’er been walking and seen in the sky
A flock of geese flying and perhaps wondered why?
They fly in a V-shape—not in some other form
Such as small groups or large groups or straight as the norm.
No feathered brain fowl, these geese really know
How to travel efficiently where e’er they go.
The V has a purpose, aerodynamically smart,
Those birds are good buddies; each one does its part.
They’ve got a neat system that’s often been shown
To provide for hurt geese so they’re not left alone.
And although their squawking won’t make a sweet song,
They honk to encourage each other along.
There’s rarely a goose with its neck out of joint
Cuz each one gets its chance to fly at the point.
So there’s never a leader too tired to lead
For each goose is primed for its turn when there’s need.
All of the creatures live lives that can teach
Us humans some lessons! And geese surely preach
How to learn and to lead, to build up and to bond
Why geese can show teammates how they could respond
To each other like geese as they fly. Don’t you think?
We could be Team Honkers and teammates in sinc?
By Linda Pederson 3/29/94

This simple poem has some very powerful advice regarding teams and teamwork:

•    Teamwork sometimes requires an individual sacrifice.  Just as the geese make sure that if one of their group needs to fall back, another is with them, such should be the motto of a team. No one is left  behind; in idea sharing, team building or assignments.

•    There is not a universal definition of a team. Teams are made up of people, animals, sub-groups, etc. The authors of the Team Approach , Dr. Steven Stowell and Stephanie Mead also contend that there are stunning parallels of the forces of teamwork , which are observable, between nature and what we see in modern organizations. They make the case that a team’s success is everyone’s responsibility.

Next time your eyes gaze upwards at the flying V in the sky, remember…all this “teamwork stuff” is not simply for the birds.

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About the Author
Charity Martushev

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