Birds Don’t Go to Meetings

Flocking BirdsDriving down the road, I see a flock of birds in the sky. A flock of about 150 birds. So many birds, it’s like a giant cloud, except there is so much more grace and beauty.  They sail on the wind–all flying together.

Changing directions, zigzagging. In general, it should be a mess. Yet they all change direction together. With precisely the exact same angle, at the exact same time. It’s amazing. They don’t ask each other, they don’t have a meeting or a conference…they just…do. They fly together, not one bird left behind. They arrive at the same destination.

How does a person become the kind of leader who can coordinate that?  The kind of leader whose flock flies in the same direction, at the exact same time. The type that inspires people not to sit in meetings or conferences, asking each other, waiting for permission. That just…does.

How does a person become the kind of leader that inspires success, that rallies the troops, that lets their people soar above the clouds? Even in the face of the most remarkable odds, and the most impossible situations?

Study the birds.

Study nature.

And fly…

[Photo: Jeremy Seagraves–]


9 thoughts on “Birds Don’t Go to Meetings

  1. Beautiful thoughts, has parallels to Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching. You may be interested in reading the book, you may find answers to many of your questions. It probably looses some of it’s original meanings in the English translation but specifically talks on how a leader can lead with non-action (a concept not to be taken on face value as ‘doing nothing’ but rather giving your ‘followers’ the space to decide to follow you; to understand more, read more.

  2. While the flock needs freedom to act instantaneously the flock also needs core principles that they can follow as individuals to enact the instantaneous change as a group. My bet is that if you high speed 3d video’d several of these flocks and then started some number crunching you would find 2 consistent modes. One, a wave of actions that starts at one point and then propagates through the flock “near” instantaneously, i.e. the turning or swarming on a point, along with a second type of response, i.e. wind gust response, where the entire flock responds near identically but instantaneously as they perceive the wind gust affecting their flight.

    Verbose description to get to my point. What I’ve read is that successful leadership stresses core goals/principles to the point where those values are shared. Then leadership lets their co-workers fly/fail/soar/make mistakes/flock/support the way to the goals. So freedom of action, for a communal purpose or in this case genetically ingrained principles they follow.

    Oh, by the way. I’m now disturbing my mental balance checking for 2 spaces after periods when I type. Thanks for that!!! :p

  3. I suspect because the leader does a couple nifty things…they fly (work alongside) with the group, they take turns (foster new leadership and train from the ranks), and because they are psychic and cool like that. Just my opinion.

  4. Some would say that people are born leaders; they do this instinctively. I think it can be learned, but you have to WANT to be a leader and dedicate yourself to the art. I don’t think any amount of training will transform someone who doesn’t want to lead.

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