By Laura Jozwiak
October 18, 2023
A transition is taking place in the heartland of the country. It is the perennial time when the trees turn to colors of flames, the wind kicks up a north chill, apple cider donuts tempt us, and geese migrate for open water and nourishment. These changes come as a time for reflection and the last push to prepare for winter as the end of the year approaches. What is it on your 2023 to-do list that is still undone, or worse, not yet started? Have you checked in with your teams and your clients to help them close out another year and start preparing for 2024?
I look to the skies for wisdom on preparing, supporting, and ensuring we all achieve our desired results together. The flight patterns of birds are fascinating. How do they move in unison, know where they are going, and stay in flight with the constant pull of gravity and resistance tiring them out? We have all heard of the benefits of the V formation in geese migration – an apt reminder to utilize the wisdom of the geese as they make their way south this time of year.
Not all geese migrate, but for those breeds that do, they can travel from 1,000 to 3,000 miles in one day! Nonstop! The V formation helps them achieve such feats. A few reasons why: the lead goose is taking on the most impact of the resistance in the atmosphere, while those behind the lead spread out in the V shape at a slightly higher elevation than those in front, which allows the rest of the flock to drift and conserve needed energy, all the while honking to cheer on the team to keep them going.
As the miles continue, the lead goose will tire and drop down to the back of the pack, allowing the next goose to step into the lead to take the flock forward. If a goose falls ill or is too weak to proceed, it will come back to the ground to rest, and a few others from the flock will go along for protection. When ready, they will join the next flock heading in their direction. This goes on for miles and miles until they reach their destination.
The correlation to those of us closer on the ground is clear. We all have been given a destination in our strategic plans, business goals, and personal life. And very few results in life, business or personal, are achieved alone. Even the lonely trek up to the top of Mount Everest takes a dozen team members to support the explorer to the summit and back down safely.
The flight of the geese reminds us that, at times, we need to be in the front of the team to remove roadblocks and show the path forward, as well as know when we need to move to the back to regain our strength and allow others to lead us on. And all along the way, encourage, support, and protect the team so we all reach our destination safely and as one team.
Taking care of your team first is at the core of what we do to stay customer driven. If we don’t know where we are going, how will our customers trust that we are the ones that can get them to their desired future? Encouraging a customer-driven team means we are results-driven (get to your destination), with encouragement and support (honking along the way).
Look up to the skies to watch the flocks work as one. That focus, determination, and teamwork delivers amazing results! If they can do it, so can we.
Laura Jozwiak is Senior Vice President, Sales and Client Relations at Wheels.