Lessons From The Geese

Living in the upper Midwest this time of year heads often turn skyward to watch flocks of geese headed south for the winter. Recently I had the opportunity to attend the 2013 Cirrus Aircraft Partner Symposium where Cirrus maintenance and service centers, flight training centers, and suppliers from around the world gather in Duluth, MN. Nearly 300 people were provided a company update, the ability to attend breakout sessions, and a wonderful guided tour of the factory. And, we did get a peek at the next SF50 jet under production. 

President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Waddick addressed the group on providing great customer service. He began by asking the question, “How do you look ahead and determine what the customer wants?” The answer was it begins internally and great customer service begins with the need for competent teams, operating standards, a practiced routine, clear communication and roles, and commitment.

But it was Pat’s analogy of taking lessons from the geese that stuck with me. As he put it, geese fly in formation, they stay in formation, rotate and share the lead, honk in encouragement, and leave no goose behind. Perhaps a light-hearted comparison but valuable traits that people can follow. In your organization does everyone move toward the same understood goal? Does everyone stay moving in this same direction? Are responsibilities shared? Do you celebrate successes and are all employees supported and none lost and forgotten? If not, take a lesson from the geese.