YKK Stories

2018-03-26 Issue 40 Fundamental Behavior 13 Be A Team Player

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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I recently learned why geese fly in a ‘V’ formation. I had always imagined they were doing it because it was an effective way to follow the leader. I always wondered what special skills the lead goose had. As with most leaders, the answer is that she is not special. All geese in the gaggle know exactly where they are going, but they fly together in a ‘V’ formation because it is the only way they will get there. It is about conserving energy over a long flight. The flap of a bird’s wing creates a rotating vortex of air, pushing air down under the wing, while rotating air up and away off the side of the wing. The geese fly in a ‘V’ so the bird behind can catch the updraft coming off the side of the wing of the goose ahead (you will also see that each goose flies slightly above the goose in front to better capture that updraft). This allows the goose behind to ‘ride’ the energy created by the one in front, which allows them to exert less energy.

The one in front does not get that lift, so geese rotate the lead position to share the load. If they did not work as a team, stepping in for each other, and flying in formation, then they would individually exhaust themselves before they could get far enough south in the winter or far enough north in the summer. By working together, the group can increase their range by 71%! Nature loves teamwork.

We operate in very competitive industries in the NCA region, and we deal with a number of significant macro-economic ‘headwinds’. Our success in the face of these challenges is largely due to the effectiveness of our teams. Of course, there are too many excellent examples of wonderful teams working throughout our region to mention them here, but all of them share the same trait: the members build each other up, much like the geese create updraft for each other. Mutual support and respect are necessary to make a team effective. Good teams understand the strengths of the other members and rely on those strengths to leverage the group. Great teams support each other in the weak spots while maintaining a strong sense of respect and consideration for each other.


Jim Reed
YKK Corporation of America