Lessons from Survivor

Ok, I admit I might watch Survivor on occasion.  The game in survivor is to manage to be the last person voted off. But it is as much a social game as it is a physical or mental game.

Among the biggest reasons for getting voted off are being annoying or being seen as a leader. The correlation between the two is interesting.  Many leaders end up being annoying.

This seems to parallel the real world. One of the biggest reasons for employee dissatisfaction is a bad boss. The big difference is you can seldom vote out your boss in the real world.

How would the game change if you could?

Now to really make use of this shift in power you would need to align the goals of employees with the goals of the organization. You would want employees choosing the best boss for the job at hand, not just someone who would let them get away with murder. If goals are aligned people often choose an effective leader, not a wimp or pushover. Hey, I want someone strong representing my group's interests.

Your employees know better than anyone else if you are not competent. They often have to cover for an ineffective boss. I know I have in the past.

For that matter you would also want employees choosing their teammates.

It's probably not really a workable solution in the real world as it's hard to avoid popularity contests, personality conflicts and selfish motives, though many companies support some of these ideas in their performance reviews.

But what if you acted like you could be voted out by your employees or peers on a regular basis? Would that change how you behave or the work you do?

I've always found I succeed because of my team, not the other way around, although I like to think I contribute as well.

Maybe your job and next promotion are secure no matter what they think.

Then again, maybe your survival does depend on it.

By | 2017-04-03T12:33:39+00:00 February 27th, 2009|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership|

About the Author:

Doug Wagner is an entrepreneur, President and Co-founder of Sunwapta Solutions. Sunwapta's mission is to help businesses transform from surviving to thriving, sustainable growth. From strategy to implementation, this means marketing, sales, managing your brand and delivering consistent value. Get more clients and keep them.