Monday, 23 July 2012

Lessons from geese

Our feathered friends bring inspiration today.

This is an interesting piece of work based on the work of Milton Olson. I stumbled across it again today by accident and it resonated so strongly with what I'm doing here at The Wright Brain Stuff that I just had to share it.

What we can learn from geese:

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 has 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are travelling on the thrust of each other. Taking lessons together and sharing your experiences and work offers just the support that many need to take them from 'thinking about' to actually 'doing'.

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.

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 bird tires, it rotates back into the formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

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. In other words, the teacher doesn't always know everything! We learn from each other.

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

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 to encourage the heart and core values 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 to catch up with the flock.


We all have tough days. We will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we’re strong.

That’s exactly what this business is about. I'm building a flock to give you all extra uplift. You don’t need to fly alone. Between us we’ve got some very specialised geese here – that will not only keep you moving forward but ensure that you’re in the best shape to take advantage of current conditions.

I love getting under the skin of my students and delivering that little bit extra which makes all the difference – sometimes it might just be a cheerful honk!

With my range of techniques, expertise and over-excited enthusiasm, I'll pick you up and keep you flying!

Note 1: Lessons from Geese was transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network. It was based on the work of Milton Olson. It circulated to Outward Bound staff throughout the United States.

Note 2: The artwork was created using a textured background I'd made 'earlier' and then using a variety of bird brushes in PhotoShop. I like to think of the piece as a mixture of flying in formation and then just soaring with joy on the thermals!


  1. Incredible post and artwork! The metaphor is a priceless lesson!! I believe ppf does that for many artists, as well as courses like yours! Helping us to think of new direction and perspective while being supported by our team!! Thanks for sharing the valid lesson!

    Hugs Giggles

  2. Yet I see this post from you with the geese. Wonderful just now I have posted my geese, I read the description here of them. So I like my paintings of the geese more than before. Thanks for these lessons.
    Lovewly greet Marja