Lessons From Geese

Do You Know About The “Lessons From Geese”

“Lessons From Geese” was transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and is based on the work of Milton Olson.

Group of Canadian geese flying in V-formation over sunburst

Fact 1:      As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “Uplift” from the birds that follow.  By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater distance than if each bird flew alone.

The natural wonder of healthy relationships, families, teams, work cultures.

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.

The natural wonder of authentic relationships.

Fact 3:      When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

The natural wonder of trust and leadership. 

Fact 4:     The gees flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed, and to coordinate shifts in position. .

The natural wonder of mutual support.

Fact5:     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 until it dies or can fly again. They then launch another formation or catch up with the flock.

The natural wonder of authentic caring.


Angeles Arrien, Ph.D. (1940-2014) was a cultural anthropologist, award-winning author, educator, and consultant. Her bridged cultural anthropology, psychology, and comparative religions and used in medical, academic, and corporate environments. Best-known book, The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary. 

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