I must first admit that I love Survivor. I have watched every single episode, almost all of them when originally aired. Now there are two types of people who like Survivor; really stupid ones and really smart ones. I’m not sure which I am. The reason I like it is that it is so close to the business world that the game becomes reality when looked at in a business context. Just as in business, you need to build a strategy, keep yourself positive, communicate well, build alliances and if you want to win you need to motivate people. These are essential leadership skills that come together in one person only once in a while. The last winner, from Survivor One World was Kim Spradlin, a 29 year old bridal shop owner from San Antonio.

I’ll do a number of posts about the show in upcoming weeks but this is the first. Kim was really special in terms of past winners as she had it all. She played the game flawlessly and deserves the million dollars. The first thing she had was skill.

You need some degree of skill

Survivor is partly an athletic game so you need some athletic abilities to make it to the end. You don’t have to be the best athlete but at some point in time you must prove yourself on the field of combat. Kim had the perfect set of athletic skills and in fact went on to win four individual challenges. She had competitors like Jay, Matt, Michael and Troy who probably had more athletic ability but in Survivor, that is usually a hinderance. The people with no athletic ability or outdoor skills get voted out first. The ones with very strong athletic skills typically make it to the merger of tribes because of what they offer to the tribe in winning contests. After the merge however, the game is individual and a strong competitor will likley be thought of as a threat and be voted out unless they are really good at getting along with others.

But it takes more than skill

So you’re probably wondering how this compares to business. Well, in business if you are very strong at a certain skill such as finance but weak at emotional intelligence, your career will rise and hit a ceiling at some point in time. You are milked for your skills but don’t make the top rung of the ladder in most situations. That’s why:

‘A’ students work for ‘B’ and ‘C’ students.