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!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Shifting sands

"Despite current ads and slogans, the world doesn't change one person at a time. It changes when networks of relationships form among people who share a common cause and vision of what's possible. This is good news for those of us intent on creating a positive future. Rather than worry about critical mass, our work is to foster critical connections. We don't need to convince large numbers of people to change; instead, we need to connect with kindred spirits. Through these relationships, we will develop the new knowledge, practices, courage and commitment that lead to broad-based change."
Margaret Wheatley

This is a wonderful quote by business guru Margaret Wheatley.

She preaches of the pitfalls of the ‘same old, but better’ techniques employed by many companies when planning their business. What’s missing, she suggests is room for a creative approach, something to shake up the entrenched thinking. It’s about doing the ‘unthinkable’, being brave enough to step outside our conventional ways of working.

This is the kind of thinking that gets me out of bed in the morning!  As right-side of brain creative thinker, I feel particularly uncomfortable with the same old, same old – particularly when it is linked with death by PowerPoint presentations – where better means more slides; or creating brochures just because you feel like you should have one.

We are no longer playing by the same rules. When I began my career in the early 1990s, if I’d come across an interesting quote by Margaret Wheatley, I would have needed some serious intent to go and research about her. Today, having stumbled upon her completely by accident, sitting in the comfort of my own home, I was then reading her articles within seconds. The world shifts. Economies shift. Business shifts. Employee relationships shift.

Scientists concur that the only building block in life is relationships. How well do you understand the relationships, or tribes where you work? What social networks are building behind your back? Is your marketing and sales strategy just trying to make an old strategy better? Is it time for a fresh approach?
Have a think about it!