Lessons about teamwork can be learned from geese. As each goose flaps its wings it creates"uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. When a goose falls out of formation, it immediately 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. When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. While flying in formation, geese honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. When a goose gets sick or wounded, 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. They launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock (Lessons on Teamwork from Geese, 1999).
Bluefield College has a unique flock of geese that meet every Thursday night in the Science building on the second floor in room # 222. These particular geese "honk" in every class and are attempting to become a team. OMD #97 members are a prime example of how group intervention can be transformed into a team. Team building creates a culture that enables communication, trust and commitment. Critical skills for team success are factors such as communication and appreciating differences.
Communication and appreciating differences
When a group of people becomes truly effective and perform to their potential, each one should possess a built-in confidence for each other. Understanding how goals can be served by a group effort is important. During transition from a group to a team, communication skills need to be developed. Talking and listening are crucial forms of communication. The weakness in our group is not talking. Our geese "honk" about homework, papers and tests. They fall out of formation when they do not listen or try to understand what is occurring and become upset when questioned about their presentations. The group is affected when particular members: engage in distractions (writing, reading, leafing through books, slamming book covers, zipping and unzipping notebooks); verbally attack personalities; do not participate in team decisions; do not take the process seriously; and offer putdowns at every opportunity. These actions weaken the team.