‘Where the Flock are we Going?’

Murray Pratt Blog, Business Insights, Life

Flying geese

Snow Geese

As I made the turn east on the perimeter road  that I take to work every morning, I look up to a surreal sight in the sky. The early dawn sky was a patchwork of cloud and shards of light as the sun was starting to rise to the east over the coastal mountains, combining with the glow of the large lit greenhouses from below.

There was a flock of Snow Geese flying in formation, illuminated by the light from both above and below – made surreal by the contrast against the dark back drop of the North Shore mountains and the clouds hugging their peaks.

We live and work in the middle of a great combustion of human and natural activity – each species making their way in what we know, now, to be a finite world. When I grew up there was a sense of the ‘infinity’ or our planet with only the dawn of the environmental movement coming in the form of a campaign to remove ‘litter’ from our streets.  In the 60’s, before bottle deposits and regulations on all sorts of man-made materials, we seemed to use our world as one big garbage can. Things are different now.

The highway I travel snakes along a railroad that carries all sorts raw materials and goods to and from our local Container Port. There are thousands of trucks and trailers – many parked, and many more moving along local highway that snakes through farmers’ fields protected as part of our local agricultural land reserve (ALR).

These fields are maintained to a certain degree to allow the millions of birds each year to stop on their annual migrations North and South with the change of the seasons. We live in a major bird flyway. On the way home, in better ligh,t I see bald eagles, grey herons, and hawks – Red Tails, or the Northern Harrier. At this time of year the Snow Geese arrive from the Aleutians on the way down south to the warmer climes. We have a famous Migratory Bird Sanctuary within our midst.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGE-oys2BLo

As humans we need to work in order to make a living. We need to toil so that we provide for our children and our communities. You can see it every day in the trucks, trailers, trains and ships moving around us.

But one of the things that makes it all worth living is that we get to enjoy our natural surroundings – the river, the ocean, the forests, the marshlands, and the birds – the very things that make it that much more meaningful.

As humans we flock together. We flock together in the same way that birds flock together.

I marvel as I watch the Snow Geese fly by the thousands between farmers’ fields, stopping for rest and sustenance as they make their thousand mile journey.  I must say that like Snowbirds, these Snow Geese like to avoid snow. Which makes their name somewhat perplexing. It must be their snowy white feathers that comprise their name.

When I drive into my job at our trucking software business I like to watch the birds more than I like to watch for the trucks. But it’s important for me to keep my eyes on the road so I don’t get into trouble and become another road statistic!

I smile and chuckle when I see the flocks moving back and forth in all directions.

I can just imagine that there is the gigantic battle going on between  all the geese in flight.

‘Let’s go this way!’

‘No… over here… let’s go over here!’

‘Back over here.’

‘Okay…over there, over there’.

It’s amazing how they all stay together. Eventually they are able to make their way from Wrangel Island north… yes, north of Alaska… down to their winter home in California.

It is ironic that in needing to go South in the winter and North in the summer that I will see the flock – thousands upon thousands – sometimes heading East or heading West. I wonder if they are lost, or whether they are on some scouting mission for the rest of the flock.

It is very much like our business here at Tailwind Transportation Software. We have a pretty good flock here. Most times we fly in formation. And like the snow geese that fly in formation, they give lift to the others that follow. Those that lead, and those that follow, are constantly changing.

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/15/birds-that-fly-in-a-v-formation-use-an-amazing-trick/

As President of our trucking and freight broker software company, it might seem that I should be the one out front cutting the wind all the time, leading the formation. But like geese in V-Formation, our flock here at Tailwind is a pretty dynamic and strong group. We have lots of leaders. But most importantly, we have a bunch of people who show and demonstrate leadership at different times. Sometimes it will be a person. Other times it will be a whole  department, or a group assigned to address  a specific issue.

Yes – sometimes I feel that we are tacking East or West. But for the most part I feel that the overall direction is one of North and of South – a business meeting the needs of both its customers AND its investors as it migrates its way to success.

Sometimes you wonder ‘where the flock you are going’… but when you are flying in formation you can be confident that you will get there.

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