December 06, 2009

More On 'Following The Leader'

My previous post on the importance of followership seems to have struck a chord with readers and has attracted much commentary both on and off-line, with many of you contacting me directly to remark on it.

One of my BNI Marketwest colleagues sent me on a copy of a note I had circulated when stepping down as Chapter Director some years ago, where I talked in more detail of the benefits of leadership and support enjoyed by geese in flight. He suggests that I add it to my blog thread on this subject:

Until recently, scientists could only theorise as to why geese adopted the V formation for flying long distances. However, a new simulated study during which ornithologists taped heart monitors to a team of BNI members, who were then trained to fly behind a small airplane, has produced some astonishing findings:
  • The heart rates of the BNI 'geese' are lower when flying in a V than when flying solo.
  • The goose at the head of the V is not necessarily the leader of the flock. Apparently geese take turns leading. As one bird tires, it drops to the back of the formation and another takes its place.
  • As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a V, the whole flock adds over 70% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
  • The formation allows geese conserve energy as they can glide more often.
  • 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 is able to fly again. Then they launch out in a V to catch up with the flock.
  • Each goose has an unobstructed field of vision, allowing flock members to see each other and communicate while in flight.
  • The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
What can we learn from all of this? Well, your goose is as good as mine.
To the old V: thanks for all your support and honkouragement.

And to the new V: honk, honk, honk, honk!

No comments: