27 Jan What Canadian Geese Can Teach Small Business Owners


In North America, the sight and sounds of Canadian Geese flying overhead is a sure sign that either spring or fall has commenced. On the ground, a flock of geese is known as a “gaggle.” But when the season changes from warm to cold and vice-versa, Canadian Geese take flight to more comfortable climes, and once in the air, the flock is referred to as a “skein.” And like a perfectly wound skein of yarn or thread that unravels without knotting when needed for use, a skein of geese is a model of efficiency. The telltale V-formation of geese in flight is not simply a natural wonder that is beautiful to behold, it is also an aerodynamic marvel.

When flying in the V-formation, each goose flies slightly above the bird ahead, cutting down on wind-resistance and gaining momentum from the flapping of the goose in front. Fair labor distribution is also a part of the plan. The geese take turns rotating positions while flying in formation, falling back when they tire, then edging ahead when the bird in front needs a break. The long days of seasonal migration are fraught with inclement weather conditions and long distances, and each bird must be willing to undertake a follow-the-leader strategy to get from Point A to Point B. When flying in the V formation, the geese can fly farther without stopping to rest, and they use less energy per bird—simple as that.

Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from the ways of geese, especially as it applies to training. Group performance and peer-to-peer training simply cannot be underrated or undervalued. Once you have found your Who, you must train each person in the specifics of your Why. People are not necessarily like geese in this way—they may share your Why, but they do not innately or instinctually know the guidelines and procedures for your business, be it a restaurant, a mid-sized manufacturing plant, or a dot.com retail operation.

At Qualifirst, we give new hires a minimal amount of formal training followed by ongoing peer-to-peer support. We devise small hurdles for the new employee as a filtering process and to help gauge skill level. We direct employees to lean on each other, but to also be self-sufficient and high-functioning. Creating smallish teams that produce very clear and measurable results is the holy grail for us, and to do that, we make teamwork an integral part of our onboarding process.

The ultimate best new hire is the one you don’t have to manage, at least not for long. Hire people who can do the job better than you can, people who are solutions-oriented and to whom you can hand off a task to and not have to think about it again or worry that it isn’t getting done. Hire the employee who understands what they are doing so well they will do it without being asked, who with little or no nudging from you, will help their teammates—the other geese in their flock if you will. That’s the employee who will last. And he or she will make a night-and-day difference in the success of your business.



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