Running Head: OMD GEESE


Anita Clark
OMD #97
Dr. Betsy Summerfield

October 14, 1999

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. Listening of others ideas and opinions are beneficial to learning and growth. Open communication helps a team to nurture and build self-awareness for individual team members. Many of the team members have "opened" his or her lines of communication and begun progress toward the team goals. Learning to communicate and appreciating team members are continuous struggles for everyone. Group members are not aware they are "interdependent on each other\'s skills, capabilities and have a unique arrangement of gifts, talents and resources" (LOTFG, 1999). If these members had any "goose sense", they would realize by staying in team formation, they can learn from one another. When team members share common goals, they reach their destination quicker by traveling on the momentum of one another.
Working together within the team has a large impact on performance. Improving relationships between members enables the team to achieve their goals. Each member has their own strength and weaknesses but it is up to the team to develop the positive traits and transform the negatives traits into positive ones. Attempting to understand the strengths and qualities of each group member takes time and patience. Questioning other members about their values, beliefs and projects also encourage team growth. It is important for all team members to have a voice in what is accomplished each week.
Everyone has unique contributions to the team and members should acknowledge that diversity is valuable. "Diversity helps to make a team strong and flexible" (Teamworks Module, 1999). Variety in OMD #97 is portrayed through skills of a secretary, clerk, safety manager, block builder, physical therapist, purchasing agent, two self-employed workers and two bankers. We are different, yet similar in our goals and objectives. Effective teams build on the experience of others and challenge members to change their behaviors. Groups often have a difficult time acknowledging and