What A Spanish Goose Farmer Taught Me About Leadership
Guest Post by Andrew Means, Data Nerd & Consultant based in Chicago’s Bucktown community. You can visit his blog at www.MeansWellDoesGood.com
It has been said that foie gras, the liver of a goose that is fattened up by having a tube stuffed down its throat, is the most abusive food to produce. Yet for many chefs, it is the preeminent delicacy in the world. Quite a predicament.
That was until Eduardo Sousa came along claiming to have found a way to produce foie gras naturally. No tubes. No abuse.
Many in the culinary world found this impossible to believe and yet when chefs tasted what his goose livers they found themselves completely surprised to find the most amazing tasting foie gras they had ever eaten.
Eduardo Sousa raises his geese in the countryside of Spain. Here they live in a goose’s paradise with plenty of tasty and fattening things to eat. What Sousa realized is that as the weather turns cold, geese will stuff themselves, no need to stuff a tube down their throat. However, they will only do this if they feel they are wild. As soon as a goose felt domesticated they would not indulge in this behavior.
So there are no fences on Sousa’s farm. All the geese are free to leave at any point. Very few utilize this freedom but it is there. Sousa must then create such a paradise for his geese that they choose to stay until their death.
Even more amazing than his own geese choosing to stay is that as flocks of geese fly over Sousa’s farm, his geese call up to them, apparently sharing how wonderful the farm is, and these completely free geese join his flock on his farm!
Let that sink in for a minute. He has created such an enticing environment that his geese that are heading to the slaughter are calling completely free geese to join their ranks.
Think about this from the perspective of an organization. Do you have the kind of organization where those working feel no desire to leave and in fact invite others to join the team?
In today’s economic environment it is even increasingly tempting to sacrifice environment and organizational culture at the altar of austerity. Managers and executives might say to themselves, “There is a line of people outside who are more than willing to take anyone’s place who chooses to leave” and choose to push their teams to the edge of burnout.
This is certainly one model, but how much more productive would your organization be if everyone who works for you felt appreciated, served, and in an environment conducive to productivity? Your organization would attract and retain top talent far better than your competitors and in today’s world, talent is the ultimate productivity.
So how can you follow Sousa’s lead and create a goose’s paradise?