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Sometimes in Florida, I see the occasional flock of birds fly in a V formation heading south(probably to Miami, they have a great party scene). That got me thinking, how does that V formation help them fly faster and farther? Of course, I found the answer and ways it can relate to creating the ideal team environment for your dealership.
In 1972, Dr. Robert McNeish, a science teacher from Baltimore wrote, “Lessons From Geese.” Here is the simplified version of it:
Observation: Geese fly in a V formation because as each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the geese that follow and the whole flock adds an estimated 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: Employees who share a common direction and sense of community can get to where they are going quicker and easier because they are utilizing the power from each other to get there. All of your staff should understand the common goal of your dealership and where, as a group, they should be striving to go.
Observation: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. So, 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 would stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. However we know there are always a few employees who leave the formation. For your straggler employees, processes should be in place that have them feeling the drag when they remove themselves from your dealership’s common goal.
Observation: When the lead goose tires, it rotates to the back of the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing hard tasks and sharing. You should continually rotate who is taking the lead on special projects such as updating new employee training, testing your email marketing effectiveness or vendor reviews and exploration. That way, your employees are not being tired out by juggling their day-to-day tasks and special project tasks.
Observation: Geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: Encouraging others is important and will be much appreciated by your staff. Openly recognize top performers and remember to provide honest feedback when an employee asks for it. However, we need to make sure our “honking” is helpful and not harmful. Make sure any reprimands must be done in private and not in front of the entire team.
Observation: When a goose gets sick or wounded, two other 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.
Lesson: We must stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong. Sometimes there is an employee who needs some extra training or help to get up to speed. Have someone take them under their wing and help them out until they are able to fly on their own again.
There you have it! More lessons we can learn from animals! What do you think of the lessons that we can learn from geese?