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In the last post, I said one sure way to get voted off the island was to be perceived as a leader.

In Survivor terms, the leader is anyone who takes charge at any point, influences other players, works hard providing for the tribe, plays hard in competitions, devises strategies, is social, sacrifices for the good of the tribe,has input, etc. etc.

But here is the tricky part. When the game gets down to the last three players, a “jury” of eight or nine of the players who were voted off decides who deserves the million dollars. So if you make it to the final three and you are not perceived as having done those things, no one will vote for you. In fact, the word for someone who doesn’t take risks and still makes it to the final three is goat. And in this case goat does not mean greatest of all time. The goat is the person who gets brought along to the finals by a “real” player to increase that player’s chances of winning. The goat is someone to contrast themselves against in front of the jury.

So, in this game, you cannot be seen as a leader, but you must still lead.

The same can be true off the island.

Especially if you do not have a position of leadership in the organization. Or if you are in a group of your peers.

Despite the claims that Survivor is just a game, similar behavior occurs when resources are scarce and the prize can only go to one person. Say, a promotion, for example. Or an election.

Some will work hard, hoping they are appreciated. Some will schmooze the decision makers. Some will ride the coattails of stronger performer. Some will backstab their peers.

This happens every day, doesn’t it?

On the show, just like in life, sometimes the jury rewards the clever player who wove their way through all the pitfalls while maintaining their integrity. Other times, betrayal and blindsides are rewarded. And in all cases, the winner has to have some amount of luck.

We have to make the choice of how we are going to play the game.


Dr. Jeff

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