Flying Lessons

By Observing the Migration of Geese We Learn How Flying in Formation Allows Us To Soar

By Jenny Hogan

The next time you look up at the sky and see geese or other birds flying in the “V” formation, you may want to consider the reason why they fly in this very precise manner.

Every year we witness migrating birds and the familiar V shape they naturally form while flying. It’s a wonderful reminder of the benefits of teamwork and how the synergy of a group serves to enhance momentum and boost each individual up.

Lauren Gartland, founder of Inspiring Champions, tells how we can learn some important tips on life from observing how a flock of geese fly together.

Teamwork Is Uplifting — Geese fly in a V formation because as each goose flaps its wings it creates uplift for the remaining birds. Flying in this manner adds 71 percent more efficiency than if the birds were to fly alone. “Working as a team in your salon or spa provides this same type of supportive boost to your workplace,” Gartland compares.

“The momentum provided by the combined efforts of a group working towards a common goal greatly enhances efficiency and results while also lifting morale.” Create an inspiring vision for your business that will guide your team members. Think up ways your team members can work together for the common goal of business success. You could create an incentive program where salon service and retail goals are rewarded with prizes like new hairstyling tools, a gift certificate for a nice dinner or theater tickets.

Avoid Flying Solo — When a goose falls out of formation, it quickly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. “When we humans fly solo we also feel the weight of life’s pressures. Our burdens are much lighter if we share them with others and get the help and support we need,” notes Gartland. She advises business owners to hold regular team training sessions and meetings.

“Productive, inspiring meetings will keep everyone in sync with your company’s mission and ensure every member feels included and listened to.” Make sure there is ongoing communication in your business and that everyone participates in creating new goals and projects. Hold regular training sessions where new skills and trends are covered, so that there is always backup in your salon or spa if an individual needs some technical advice or just a helping hand.

Rotate The Point Position — If you are the head of a business, you may feel the sole weight of the responsibility it bears. Consider that the lead goose in a formation constantly rotates back, letting another goose take its place. Gartland suggested, “Learn to delegate in your workplace and share leadership responsibilities. We each have skills and capabilities that enhance each other and create a better workplace with many resources.”

Train and coach your team members to grow their skills and performance. By unlocking your employees’ potential, you ultimately improve your business which will become much more powerful than if you always try to do everything yourself. Step back and allow your team members the chance to grow. Monitor their work but don’t micromanage; show confidence in their abilities and empower them to become leaders too.

Keep On Honking! — Geese in formation honk constantly while flying to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. “Working in an environment where there is regular encouragement ensures that your team members feel appreciated and acknowledged, while leading your business to thrive,” Gartland said.

Show your thanks and gratitude to your team members often, both verbally and also with rewards. Have regular employee outings or parties in the salon for birthdays, seasonal events or in celebration of an individual’s personal success. You could even have an awards ceremony and give away silly trophies, or put gold stars on salon stations. The point is to recognize every accomplishment team members achieve in some way and let them know you rely on them and appreciate their hard work. Studies on work behavior have consistently found employees actually favor recognition for their work above salary increases or other benefits.

When A Goose Is Down — Finally, when a goose flying in formation is sick, wounded or shot down, two geese also drop out of formation. They follow the wounded goose to the earth to protect it and stay with it until it recovers, or dies. Then they later catch up with the flock or join another formation. “Standing by your workmates through difficult times as well as good ones ensures a strong, coherent group,” Gartland declared. Being flexible in your business may just allow your downed goose to return to the flock if the team dynamic is strong enough to prevail.

“We want to lift people up, support people’s dreams and fuel the spark of greatness within them,” concluded Gartland. By creating a strong vision for your business and actively engaging your team members to be a part of that vision, you ensure that instead of many strong individuals flying solo, you become a powerfully cohesive, soaring team.

Inspiring Champions is a business and coaching company offering live training camps, coaching and mentoring services, webinars, audio tapes and educational resources. For more information call 800-496-9305 or go to

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