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Total Quality Management: Lessons from the Geese

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March 2012
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When I was a third or fourth year university student, I made a report on Management Versus Leadership.  I will never forget the very essence of this principle and so I would want to share it here with you guys.

First, let me provide you simple truths about the difference of managers from leaders. Management implies control while leaders mean they are open to suggestions and change.  Managers study and analyze data and information and make decisions based on them. They try to effectively and efficiently allocate the resources they have in the company to solve the problems at hand.

Days are more challenging than ever. People do radical steps, innovative and unorthodox which are sometimes easily discarded… but some are brave enough to defy social norms and push with their unconventional ideas. I believe that this is Leadership. Leaders are catalysts of change. They have the brightest ideas and turn them into reality, in spite of and even if.  Now, more and more people are looking for these brave souls. People don’t want to be managed, they want to be led.


According to Merle Boos (1991) we can all take “Lessons from the geese.”

1st FACT ON GEESE: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird following. By flying in the V formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent more flying range than if each bird flew alone.

LESSON: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the trust of one another.

2nd FACT ON GEESE. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power f the birds immediately in front.

LESSON: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will join in formation with those who are headed where we want to go.

3rd FACT ON GEESE: When a lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation, and another goose flies at the point position.

LESSON: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership with people, as with geese, interdependent with one another.

4th FACT ON GEESE: The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up fron to keep up their speed.

LESSON: We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging not something less helpful.

5th FACT ON GEESE: When a goose gets sick or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow their fellow member down to help and provide protection. They stay with this member of the flock until it either is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their won, find another formation, or catch up with their own flock.

LESSON: If we have as much sense as the geese, we’ll stand by one another like they do.


1 Comment

  1. Eimear Fraid says:

    Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward. Victor Kiam

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