Lessons # 4 / November 2012
Changing Leadership – Moose vs. Goose
Thank God the elections are over and we know who will be our country’s leader for the next four years. I voted for President Obama and I take joy in his winning. Now that it’s over I feel like I just got married again. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or good health, we are stuck with each other for four more years.
I was walking by the Allegheny River when I saw a flock of geese (first flock I’ve seen since leaving CA). The birds were flying in a classic “V” shape with one of the legs of the V slightly smaller than the other. The birds few west and soon disappeared over the wooded hillside but not before they got me thinking about two models of leadership transfer in the animal world – the Moose Model and the Goose Model
Moose (also rams, elk and deer) assert leadership by battering their antlers together. These antler games can last hours but (I’m told) they rarely result in either the losing moose or the winning moose getting hurt. There just comes a time when one animal still has stamina and is able to ram the other animal harder. Somehow, both animals know when the battle is won/lost and simply stop their charges with the winner taking center stage and the lose slinking off in search of better hunting grounds.
And this pretty much describes the way we elect a president.
Geese do it differently. They don’t confront one another or peck each other. Their transfer of leadership is much easier. When the lead goose gets tired, he (and I’m pretty sure the leaders are male) simply drops to the back and another goose takes over. When that one gets tired, the process is repeated.
Goose or moose. You decide.