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Archive for the ‘Group Dynamics’ Category

Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test

In Cadbury, Candy, College Students, Creme Egg, Easter, Group Dynamics, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, MBTI, Pablo Malavenda, personality, Pop Culture on April 2, 2013 at 8:39 am


Attention — Leadership Consultants and Educators!

A new and innovative method for developing a dynamic team — the Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test


This is one of my favorite weeks of the year — the week that Easter Candy goes on sale! In every department store, grocery store and pharmacy around the country — Easter candy has been drastically reduced in price for quick sale. This, to my delight, includes Cadbury Creme Eggs — for purely professional reasons.

If you are a leadership consultant or leadership educator who works in organizational development, staff development or leadership develop initiatives — NOW is the time to stock up on Cadbury Creme Eggs. Why?

Because Cadbury Creme Eggs are a highly effective (and unique) method to explore team building, team effectiveness, and collaboration.

This is a valuable post for anyone looking for something beyond True Colors, DiSC, Strength Quest, or MBTI — the Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test. In this post, you will learn how “Cadbury Creme Eggs may hold the secret for putting together the most dynamic team and getting the most out of your team members.”

This blog post gives step-by-step instruction on how you too may become a Cadbury Creme Egg Personality Test Trained Facilitator.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Survivor Leadership: 4 Powerful Lessons from Reality TV

In CBS, College Students, diversity, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Interaction Process Analysis, Komives, Leader, Leadership, life, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Bales, self-fulfilling prophecy, Survivor, Survivor Cook Island, survivor women, Timothy McMahon, TV, TV shows on May 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm

The Complete Guide



The Complete Guide to Survivor Leadership contains 4 Powerful Lessons.  Studying LEADERSHIP by watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor will give you powerful insights into how leadership develops in teams AKA tribes. I have taught leadership for close to 25 years.  I have used various techniques to make learning leadership meaningful and topical.  As long as Survivor has been on the air, I have been using the reality TV show to emphasis and highlight the various aspects of several leadership models, practices, and theories.  From the first episode through the live Finale show, Leadership is present, can be observed, predicted and studied. The 4 Survivor Leadership Lessons are as follows:


Survivor Leadership


Lesson 1 — The Leadership Primer


This PC Pop blog post is the quintessential Survivor Leadership primer. In this post you will learn about the basic LEADERSHIP models that give the framework for being able to study leadership and how leadership emerges among tribe members. Using Leadership models and theories that emphasize relationships as much as task completion, you begin to understand how Leadership develops among tribe members.  If you love studying leadership you will love finding out how LEADERSHIP is an integral part of the group dynamics on Survivor.  If you read this before watching Survivor, you will begin to see the relationships and interactions on Survivor in a much different way. It makes watching Survivor a much more exciting experience. READ more…


Lesson 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy


This PC Pop blog post discusses a concept called “self-fulfilling prophecy.” In order to study LEADERSHIP among the castaways on Survivor you must examine some of the variables that will impact the group dynamics.  In this post we look at how casting affects the group development and the tone of the tribe communities. Read this post and learn about how casting can reinforce negative stereotypes and complicate the natural development of teams.  If you are interested in how important diversity and inclusion are in Leadership, you will find this post very interesting. READ more…


Lesson 3 — Family First


This PC Pop blog post focuses on what the members of the tribe must be concerned about if they wish to be a LEADER. The tribes within Survivor resemble in many ways a “family.”  This post explores the concept of LEADERS first know who they are before they may be effective.  Leaders must first must know them-SELVES, then their FAMILY, then OTHERS. Once you become self aware of your own talents and issues, have the love, support and coaching from your family — you then impact your community and change the world. LEADERSHIP is about community and family; and this blog post explores that within Survivor.  As you will see sometimes it works and (like this season) sometimes it doesn’t.  You will enjoy the analysis of the men’s tribe; and it will give you more to think about the next time you tune into Survivor. READ more…


Lesson 4 — Serving Your Community


This PC Pop blog post focuses on the importance of Leaders developing a sense of Community. In order to understand others, you must first understand yourself.  You cannot lead a team or tribe unless you understand others enough to include and empower them.  Once they are empowered they must be coached, challenged, and encouraged. In Survivor, your immediate tribe is your core community (small c) or family.  The entire group of castaways regardless of their tribe affiliation and their alliances is the Community (Big C).  Unfortunately, the castaways become so focused on Leading their tribe and playing the game they fail to become great Community Leaders. To examine this further we must look at various LEADERSHIP models particularly Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership. This season there are some clear examples of castaways completely disregarding their community — and getting eliminated. READ more…


Survivor: One Worldthe twenty-fourth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series, premiered on February 15, 2012. I triple love Survivor for many reasons — but mostly because of the LEADERSHIP lessons learned by observing the group development, teamwork and relationships among the castaways. As a self-proclaimed, cultural anthropologist with a specialization in Pop culture — Survivor gives me great joy.  Tune in and let me know what you think.  If you already planned on watching, I hope these four Survivor Leadership blog posts give you something more to observe and reflect upon.  I hope I’ve convinced you it may be worth tuning into Survivor in future. You might find some value in studying Survivor — some value in studying Pop Culture — some value in studying Reality TV.


To understand more about Survivor Leadership, please read each of the PC Pop blog posts 1, 2, 3, 4. Please check back here often because this list will be updated regularly.


CBS Survivor episodes and videos can be viewed online.


Saying Goodbye: You’re Off to Great Places

In Adjourning, Books, College Students, Dr. Seuss, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Komives, Kouzes, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Oh the places you'll go, Pablo Malavenda, Posner, Timothy McMahon, Tuckman Stages, Uncategorized on May 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm


Congratulations!

Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away.


Saying Goodbye can be a powerful and transforming action that many Leaders overlook. Leaders spent a tremendous amount of time and energy building a hardworking, cohesive team and often see great results. But Leaders fail to give appropriate praise and recognition which should include some type of ceremony at the end of the year. In many team situations there is a clear and definitive “end” of the year, completion of the work and inevitable dissolution of the relationships. This is especially true in organizations in which the leader, chairperson, or president must be elected (or re-elected) each year — like student organizations and societies in college and high school. It is that time of year when some students are getting ready to graduate and for life after college, and all of the other students are preparing to move on to the next level of leadership. Leaders often let the outgoing members of student organizations just fade away though and allow the incoming  Leaders and the formal graduation ceremonies take precedence. What Leaders must do however is give formal recognition to the accomplishments of the team which has been together for the entire year and most likely has many wonderful things on which to reflect and of which to be proud.

Great Leaders spend part of their tenure recognizing accomplishments, rewarding good work, working on team building and trust among group members, and empowering and encouraging their team members to work hard, take risks and make history. Ironically these same Leaders often leave office and fade away without properly “Saying Goodbye” and more importantly without allowing the team members to say Goodbye to each other. When Kouzes and Posner talked about “Encouraging the Heart” they were not only referring to recognizing individuals throughout the entire year but also having an upbeat year-end celebration to give closure to the entire team (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).

Encouraging the Heart is based on two commitments: recognizing contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence and celebrating the values and victories by creating a spirit of community (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).  For some leaders Encouraging the Heart comes naturally but for most it is not their strongest trait. Believe it or not it is easier for many Leaders to “Challenge the Process” but Encouraging the Heart frightens them. Yet is it so important that Kouzes and Posner dedicated an entire textbook to this one behavior of their Leadership Challenge — Encouraging the Heart. Now there’s a book, Encouraging the Heart workshops, and the Encouragement Index. So don’t blow it by not coordinating an end of the year celebration. According to Kouzes and Posner the importance of Encouraging the Heart is backed up by research that reports that approximately one-third of North American workers say they NEVER are recognized for a job well done, a little more (44 percent) say they receive little recognition for a job well done, and only 50 percent of Leaders say they give recognition for high performance  (Kouzes & Posner, 2003). Great Leaders know that people matter, and Leader must make people feel in their hearts that they are valued and appreciated — and we’re not necessarily talking about money or salary.


You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights!

You’ll join the high fliers

Who soar to high heights.


Also remember that every group, team or organization goes through developmental stages explained well by Bruce Tuckman’s Group Development Model. Tuckman’s original stages of development, as you will recall, are as follows: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing (Tuckman, 1965).  In 1977, Tuckman with Mary Ann C. Jensen added a fifth stage: Adjourning. Adjourning has also been referred to as the De-Forming or Mourning stage.  Tuckman and Jensen (1977) realized the function or design of many groups is to complete a series of tasks and to dissolve.  Even if the group continues to exist the members of the group will be different and the developmental stage would revert to the Forming stage also know as Re-Forming and Re-Storming.  Adjourning allows for the group to continue on with new members, new leadership and a new set of goals and tasks to complete.  According to Tuckman and Jensen (1977): When it is time to end or change the group in some way, managers can be perplexed by the blind refusal to change or contemplate a future that is different from today. This requires the skills of “Change Management” Leaders to be deployed, for example in celebrating the successes of the past whilst steadily revealing the inevitability of the future (Tuckman & Jansen, 1977). As with beginnings, rituals help people cope with the changes of ending. If properly implemented the Adjourning stage which includes Encouraging the Heart behaviors can be transforming for all members including outgoing members and new incoming members as well.

The 3-steps to a successful “Goodbye” are as follows:

  • Celebrate
    • Bring all members together
    • Have a meal
    • Dress up
  • Recognize
    • Say Thank you
    • Recognize major accomplishments
    • Honor members – leaders, staff, volunteers, advisors
    • Give a Keepsake
  • Leave a Legacy
    • Pass the Gavel
    • Introduce New Leadership
    • Share Vision for Future — finances, services, programs, and leadership


On and on you will hike.

And I know you’ll hike far

And face up to your problems

Whatever they are.


From an organizational perspective, plan the ceremony and pick a date as soon as possible.  Get the event in everyone’s calendar and make it an expectation to attend.  Assign the planning of the event to someone on the executive team.  I prefer the event to be coordinated and planned by the vice president.  The VP has enough knowledge and connection to the entire organization to plan something appropriate and special.  Make sure the event is within the budget and communicated as an expectation as well as a priority.  Most of your budget will be needed for food and beverages and the gift to all members.  That being said focus on the objectives of the event which represents the Heart of the organization — the people, relationships, memories, and the personal growth of each member; therefore, don’t let the lack of funds prevent you from planning something creative and special.  Everyone should attend. Everyone who attends should feel very special at the event.  Everyone should be acknowledged, thanked and recognized — EVERYONE.  This is consistent with the principles of the Relational Leadership Model concerning Empowerment and Inclusion (Komives, Lucas, McMahon, 2007). Be careful not to plan one of those banquets that makes a few people feel great and most feel ignored and under-appreciated (again).  A proper Goodbye is wonderful and uplifting for EVERYONE!


And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)


How you Say Goodbye is up to you and should be appropriate for the culture and consistent with the values of the organization.  Here are some ideas that may work for you.

  • Thank You — A thank you gift that each member may take away. It may be engraved with the “year” or term of office or something that can be personalized like a picture frame.
    • Flowers — a flower for each outgoing member
    • Gift — glass, mug, picture frame (for the group photo mentioned below)
  • Recognition
    • Plaque – may include photo, name, year or term of office
    • Certificate of Achievement/Excellence — this is most inexpensive recognition item you can give but it will be treasured by the members.  They look great if you use multi-colored certificate paper, and they can be personalized and signed by the VIPs of the organization.  For a few more cents, you purchase certificate covers and fancy stickers and ribbons to make the presentation even more dazzling.  Check with your national/international office for pre-printed certificate paper.
    • Photo of Group — the photo may be distributed electronically or made available online; the photo should include a “key” with names of everyone pictured and not pictured.
    • Logo Item — a lapel pin, patch, medal, hat, fancy pen, coaster, etc.  If the organization is a national/international or has a specific logo, there may be items for sale from the national office.
  • Program
    • Emcee, Keynote, Presenters — decide who will be hosting and emceeing, select and invite a keynote, and select presenters
    • Keynote Remarks — should focus on Leadership and leaving a legacy for the future. Considering using creative, leadership focused quotes and books like Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. {More information on how to use Story Books in Leadership may be found in this PCPop post: Story Book Leadership: Getting Started.}
    • Script — Write a script. Do not ad lib or “wing it.”  Don’t deviate from the script once it is written because it was developed to give everyone equal recognition and assures that no one is singled out as extra special (unless that is part of the original plan).  We have all witnessed this disaster — when the emcee calls up each member to receive their certificate and offers personal remarks about one particular member and then has to come up with something equally impressive for everyone else.  It never works out well, and it makes the program awkward for everyone.
    • Awards — are optional.  If you choose to give awards like best program, best committee, best chairperson, best senior, best alumnus/a, etc — make sure they don’t do more harm than good.
    • Special Recognition — decide if you wish to honor specific groups or categories of members like all graduating seniors, all executive team members, advisors, staff, or committee chairs.
    • Creative Presentations: Superlatives, Limericks, Funny Awards for each member.  With these creative presentations you must make sure there is one for each member.  A small group of officers or committee members may create these presentations or they can create the awards and superlatives and have the members vote (like “Most Likely to Succeed”).
    • Passing the Gavel: Give the outgoing president an opportunity to give remarks about the year’s accomplishments and highlights.  The outgoing presidents then presents an engraved gavel to the new president for the upcoming year.  The new president shares his/her vision for the next year building on the success and hard work of the outgoing members.
    • Photo/View Slideshow — Every organization should have a director of communications who is responsible for taking pictures and video at all events.  Their ultimate goal is to have enough photos to create a meaningful slideshow for the end of the year banquet.  The slideshow can then be shared online with all members — another gift for all members — as well as alumni and friends of the organization.
    • Music/dancing:
      • Dinner music –if you have the funds, during dinner it is a nice touch to have live music featuring a piano player, jazz combo, violinist, or harpist.
      • Dancing — After the formal presentation, some group may enjoy dancing to a DJ, who will also play “dinner” music and supply you with a microphone and sound system for your keynote and presentations.
  • Food & Beverages — Dinner, Lunch or Breakfast
    • Plated — served, sit-down meal; must coordinate special dietary meals in advance
    • Buffet — hot meal, easier to accommodate special dietary needs
    • Picnic – variety of menus will work: burgers/dogs, steak/potatoes, shish kabobs, bbq (ribs, chicken), clam bake
    • Hors d’oeuvres — this is a great option if your budget will not allow for a full meal but make sure the food is hot and plentiful.
    • Desserts — this is another great low(er)-budget option but make sure you have healthy options too like fruit smoothies, yogurt, granola, fruit salad or fresh fruit platters.
      • Buffet with a chocolate fountain (Yum!)
      • Ice Cream Sundaes — make your own — make sure you have lactose-free (soy) and lower fat options like sherbet.
  • Beverages
    • Cash Bar — general rule of thumb is that if more than half of your honorees and guests are of legal drinking age a cash bar would be appropriate.  You may disagree but I don’t think using organizational funds to pay for an open bar is appropriate.
    • Coffee — if dessert is a part of the event, coffee would be a nice addition.
  • Venue— once you decide on the program and the food you would like to serve, you have a few options for venue.  Remember to ask about catering options, food charges, vegetarian options, tax charge, service fee, tip/gratuity, bar fee, bar minimum, security requirements and any other costs.  Make sure you ask about specific requirements and the cost, if any, for a microphone, lectern, video projector, screen, dance floor, linens, flatware, centerpieces, table for awards, etc. Options for your venue are as follows:
    • Banquet hall
    • Hotel banquet room (tend to charge extra for everything — so, get a quote!)
    • Private home (obviously technology challenges)
    • Park, beach, golf course club house, country club, pavilion, outdoor plaza/patio, neighborhood clubhouse
    • Restaurant — private room
    • Museum, gallery

So…

Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

Or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!

(Dr. Seuss, 1990)


It sounds like a lot of work, but the rewards are tremendous.  Each one of your members will feel wonderful about their experience with the organization, be proud of what they were able to accomplish, and be confident that their contributions are appreciated and valued. New incoming members and officers will be inspired to continue to work hard toward accomplishing the mission and vision of the organization.  You will have started a meaningful tradition that members will look forward to attending each year. You will have become a great Leader who is comfortable Encouraging the Heart and understands the importance and significance of the Adjourning phase of group development. “You’re off to Great Places – Today is Your Day – Your Mountain is Waiting – So, Get on Your Way!”


References:

  • Komives, Susan R., Lucas, Nance, & McMahon, Timothy R. (2007) 2nd Edition. Exploring Leadership for College Students Who Want to Make a DifferenceSan Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2003). 2nd Edition. Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2008). 4th Edition. The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Seuss, Dr. (1990). Oh, The Places You’ll Go! New York, New York: Random House.
  • Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Development sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399.
  • Tuckman, B.W. & Jensen, M.A.C. (1977) Stages of small group development revisitedGroup and Organizational Studies, 2, 419-427.

For more suggestions on must-read LEADERSHIP books, check out this PCPop blog post:


For more on Story Book Leadership, check out these PCPop blog posts:

Survivor Leadership, Chapter 4 — Serving Your Community

In CBS, College Students, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Komives, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership, Survivor, survivor women, Timothy McMahon, TV, TV shows, Uncategorized on March 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Karma


Before reading this PC Pop blog post, you may want to first read the other posts about Survivor and Leadership: Survivor Leadership, Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer; Chapter 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy; and Chapter 3 — Family First.


As an instructor of LEADERSHIP for college students, I use many techniques to demonstrate and teach aspects of leadership — including watching Survivor.  Generally though we only watch the first four to five episodes as a class because at some point the “game” becomes more and more autocratic and Machiavellian — and mean spirited. Ultimately the Survivor premise — of voting everyone off until there is only one Survivor — is the antithesis of the best practices of LEADERSHIP. But during those first four episodes you can really see LEADERSHIP emerge among the members of the tribes; what I refer to as Survivor Leadership. After 4 to 5 episodes into the season, it is important to focus on the importance of Community LEADERSHIP.

Robert Greenleaf

Robert K. Greenleaf

In order to understand others, you must first understand yourself.  You cannot lead a team or tribe unless you understand others enough to include and empower them.  Once they are empowered they must be coached, challenged, and encouraged. In Survivor, your immediate tribe is your core community (small c) or family.  The entire group of castaways regardless of their tribe affiliation and their alliances is the Community (Big C).  Unfortunately, the castaways become so focused on Leading their tribe and playing the game that they fail to become great Community Leaders. To examine this further we must look at various LEADERSHIP models particularly Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership.

Colton has lost sight of one important aspect of leadership — all of your actions should be to benefit the common good.  This is best articulated in the definition from The Relational Leadership Model which states: Leadership is a relational process of people together attempting to accomplish change or make a difference to benefit the common good (Komives, 2007).  At this point in my class, I would tell the students “this is where we lose Hitler.”  Hitler may have been effective in mobilizing lots of people to do his bidding but nothing he was doing was for the “common good”; therefore, he was not a leader.

Christina

Christina

Alicia

Alicia

This past Wednesday CBS aired the sixth episode of Survivor: One World and the castaways have been together now for 14 days. It is at this point in the competition that I fantasize about how different it would be if the castaways had some insight into leadership. As I watched the episode unfold — it reminded me of the potential we all have to have a tremendous impact on our Community.  During this episode, the villian Colton had found an ally — Alicia. Colton and Alicia turned on their tribe-mate, Christina and became classic bullies.  Colton has no legitimate right to authority or power in his tribe or the entire community but others are for a variety of reasons allowing him to not only lead but to also be a coercive, manipulative meanie.

Colton Cumbie

Colton

Colton’s action were not for the common good of his tribe let alone the entire community of castaways in this camp.  If you define great leadership as actions or changes to benefit the common good it allows you to explore values, service, humility, civic engagement, empowerment, inclusiveness, diversity and community.   Colton’s behavior or style also does not resemble that of a Servant Leader — where you serve others first, selflessly, and lead next (Greenleaf, 2002). Colton is a prime example of a meanie who thinks he is a leader.  So regardless of what Colton and his allies think, he is not a LEADER.

In the competition of Survivor focusing on the needs of others, being selfless and promoting and developing others is a risky strategy. But I would argue ignoring the needs of the Community is short sighted and will eventually be your undoing. If you know anything about Survivor you know  eventually the tribes merge into one tribe.  If you acknowledge the collection of all tribes (families or neighborhoods) to be a part of a larger Community — the merge is pivotal in one’s success as a Leader.  If you are NOT focused on the holistic aspects of your entire Community until the merge — it is too late to have a positive impact.  What a different sociological “experiment” in human behavior Survivor would be if each castaway employed the principles of Servant Leadership — listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, and commitment to the growth of others and building community (Greenleaf, 2002).

Similar to the world and communities in which we lead, Servant Leadership is such an inspirational, aspirational and attractive theory — but can it really be implemented?  As Leaders we often see things from a selfish, self promoting lens — focusing on material things and the next promotion. Like Survivor there is an ultimate prize at the end of the competition.  Logically we can see, even if we don’t believe in Karma, that there are great benefits to ignoring those selfish urges and focusing on the needs of others, serving first/leading next, and working hard to develop the skills of others, empowering them to become more engaged and better servants and leaders themselves.  This philosophy is virtuous but risky and threatening.  You must take the leap of faith. In Survivor you build alliances to get you farther in the competition until eventually you will have to turn on your allies and attempt to promote yourself — to the supreme role of Sole Survivor.  Is it possible the Survivor  is more similar to the corporate American ladder than we would want to admit?

Sabrina

Sabrina

There is some encouragement in this season of Survivor though. Sabrina has been a great example of a leader with the ability of Encouraging the Heart (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).  One of the five elements of The Leadership Challenge is a concept called Encouraging the Heart.  Encouraging the Heart is such a powerful concept the authors dedicated an entire text to the subject — Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).  As a leader I am comfortable Challenging the Process and Inspiring a Share Vision, two of the other elements of The Leadership Challenge, but I have struggled with Encouraging the Heart (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).  I have had to be very intentional about sending thank you notes, celebrating small victories, and sounding sincere in my praise of others’ work.  When I assemble a team, I always try to recruit a leader who is strong with Encouraging the Heart to complement my strengths.  Sabrina has consistently been the one castaway on Survivor this season that has been genuinely concerned about the feelings of others.  Sabrina has been a strong competitor but this week her tribe, Salani, was required to have one member sit out the reward challenge. Sabriana sat out of the challenge but was completely engaged.  She cheered on her tribe-mates with words of encouragement and great sideline coaching.  Her role in this reward challenge made the difference and they won — a luxury prize with ice cream sundaes with all the fixings.  Another example of hope this season is how Christina dealt with being bullied by Colton, Alicia and others in her own tribe.  Christina stayed focused, did not retaliate with hateful words, and did not hold a grudge when Colton needed comforting.  When Colton started to experience extreme pain, Christina was the only tribe-mate who went to Colton’s aid and helped him find comfort.

Message to Mark Burnett, Executive Producer of Survivor — consider a new reality TV show concept, Survivor Leadership. The concept would be very similar to Survivor with one major difference.  The difference is each castaway has been trained in LEADERSHIP.  Each castaway would be required to complete the curriculum of a special Survivor Leadership Academy.  The syllabus would focus on the history and development of Leadership theories, practices and models.  It would focus on self-awareness, inclusiveness, group dynamics, teamwork, ethics, communication, community, and service.  How wonderful to see how the members of each of the tribes would develop if their collective focus was on the needs of the entire Community; and they focus on service first and leading next (Greenleaf, 2002).  They would work together to build a shelter, start and maintain a fire, find drinkable water, hunt for and cook food as a family, and make sure everyone felt valued, challenged, healthy, appreciated, and heard.  It would not only be a better “experiment” but a better example for aspiring and emerging leaders.

Immunity IdolNow back to Karma.  I mentioned Colton was feeling some pain toward the end of the episode.  Well although I predict Colton’s strategy would have backfired on him eventually — his appendix ended his game sooner.  Colton was diagnosed with an acute appendicitis and was ordered to leave the game. It is hard to ignore that Colton was the architect of his own fate.  (Note that it was later disclosed that Colton actually suffered from a severe bacterial infection in his stomach and intestines.) Colton did not disappoint and was evil until the bitter end.  Given the option by Jeff Probst to give his immunity idol to another castaway before he was carted away on a stretcher, Colton decided to keep it as a souvenir.  Another brilliantly selfish move.

Let’s hope that Survivor: One World Post-Colton is as exciting and a bit more compassionate.


References:


For more suggestions on must-read LEADERSHIP books, check out this PCPop blog post:


For more on Survivor Leadership, check out these PCPop blog posts:





Story Book Leadership – Getting Started – 8 Steps to Powerful Presentations

In Books, Children's Literature, Dr. Seuss, Group Dynamics, Leadership, Literacy Month, Lorax, NEA, Pop Culture, Reading Across America, Story Book Leadership, Theodor Geisel, Uncategorized, Yertle the Turtle on March 15, 2012 at 10:01 am
Story Book Leadership

“Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.”


Inspired by this Dr. Seuss quote and a class project many years ago, I explored the use of story books in my work in higher education. {Read PCPop blog post: Happy Birthday to You, Theodor Geisel!} I have been teaching LEADERSHIP to college students for close to 25 years and have been using Children’s literature for over Dr. Seuss15 years. When attending retreats, workshops and conferences, adults including college students love to regress. The joy on their faces when you pull out a children’s story book is priceless.  Once they realize you are serious about using a children’s book to teach leadership, students really get into it. After reading the book out loud to the group, I lead a discussion using a tried and true “reflection” outline asking three questions: WHAT? – SO WHAT? – NOW WHAT? The discussion is lively, fun, and meaningful. The insights about leadership the students come up with are incredible. It is magical. (Read the entire story in the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit.)

So follow these 8 simple Steps for a successful leadership development teaching experience using Children’s literature.


Story Book Leadership guidelines are as follows:

  1. LEARNING OBJECTIVE – Decide what your learning objective is (see list below).
  2. SELECT A BOOK – Select one or several Children’s Book(s) with a similar message. (Read the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List for suggestions.)
  3. FORMAT – Decide how you will use the Children’s Book.  Some ideas are as follows:
    • Read to large group; lead large group discussion.
    • Split large group up into small groups; have each group read the book and have a small group discussion; have all small groups report back to large group; lead large group discussion.
    • Use the book as the focus or a primary part of the workshop or educational session.
    • Use the book as a small part of a larger retreat or full day conference.
  4. Have at least two copies of the book — one for you to read; the other for showing the pictures to the group.
  5. SETTING – Have the room set up like “story time” in Kindergarten; have an arm chair for the reader and ask the students to sit on the floor around the chair. Be creative and have fun with it — wear a cardigan like Mr. Rogers.
  6. ENGAGEMENT – Recruit a volunteer to show pictures to the group. This is where the extra copies of the book come in handy.
  7. GET STARTED – Sit and Start by doing the following:
    • Show the book — Read the title and the author
    • Explain expectations – ask them to:
      • pay attention
      • listen with leadership in mind
      • be ready to have a lively and meaningful discussion after the book is read to the group
    • Read the book – using a lively, animated voice – taking it seriously though
    • Make sure the volunteer showing the pictures from the story is keeping up
    • Finish – repeat the title and author
    • Begin reflection discussion, using the following questions:
      • What?
        • “someone please give us a plot summary describing the main elements and themes of the story”
      • So What?
        • “why do you think that I chose this book to read to you at this time with your group?”
        • “what lessons do you think I had hoped you would get from this story?”
      • Now What?
        • “now — how can you use this new information learned from this story to make a positive change in your group?”
        • “please give some examples of things you may do or changes you may make based on the lessons learned from this story.”
  8. CLOSING
    • Question — “how did you feel during this exercise?”
    • Give a summary of the comments you heard during the reflection discussion
    • Challenge them to follow up on some of the suggestions made during the “Now What?” part of the discussion.
    • Thank them for playing along and being good sports — and emphasize how you can learn a great deal from Children’s literature.

Some of the LEARNING OBJECTIVES or topics that can be further explored using Story Book Leadership techniques are as following:
  • Brainstorming
  • Budgeting – Financial Responsibility
  • Burnout
  • Communication
  • Co-sponsorship
  • Creativity
  • Diversity – Inclusion
  • Fund-Raising
  • Holidays
  • Individuality
  • Meetings
  • Overcoming Fears
  • Peer/group pressure – Group Think
  • Persistence
  • Power
  • Problem Solving
  • Responsibility
  • Risk Taking
  • Role of Advisor
  • Social Action – Civic Engagement
  • Stress management
  • Team-Building
  • Time management – Prioritizing
Also remember that every group, team or organization goes through developmental stages explained well by Tuckman’s Group Development Model. Story Book Leadership works well in starting a discussion with a group to help the members work through or enhance the “stage” in which they are or are approaching. The Tuckman’s stages, as you will recall, are as follows: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning.  I particularly enjoy using Story Book Leadership during the Storming and Adjourning stages.

Selecting the perfect book is the next challenge. I encourage you to select one of your favorites from your childhood — your passion for the book will add genuine excitement to your presentation.  I would love it if you also went to your local library and bookstores (locally owned, of course), sat on the floor over the course of a few months, discovering and rediscovering the wonderful world of Children’s literature.  But in case you don’t have time for that level of commitment, a list of some of my favorites can be found in the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List.


Please follow PCPop with Pablo to read the series of blog posts featuring many of the Children’s books (listed in  the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List) starting with one of my favorites, Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole world watching you on TV. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!

(Dr. Seuss)


FrederickBig Bad BruceHarold & the Purple Crayon

Survivor Leadership, Chapter 3 — Family First

In CBS, Group Dynamics, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Survivor, TV shows, Uncategorized on March 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Island of Misfit Toys


Before reading this PC Pop blog post, you may want to read the first two posts about Survivor and Leadership: Survivor Leadership, Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer and Survivor Leadership, Chapter 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.


Survivor: 24 premiered on February 15, 2012 with the theme of “One World.” How ironic that this group of contestants is behaving so badly. More and more, Survivor Tribes resemble the Island of Misfit Toys — without the love and acceptance — sort of like a family. What many of us know but rarely practice is that you can’t positively impact your “World” until you know who you are first. If you are to be a leader in your community, you must know your-SELF, then your FAMILY, then OTHERS. Once you become self aware of your own talents and issues, have the love, support and coaching from your family — you then impact your community and change the world.

The Manono (men’s) Tribe this season has many similarities to a true family.  When Colton told Bill during Tribal Council that they never would have been friends if they were not castaways together on Survivor — it reminded me of family. Just like a family, one begins to wonder how you all ended up together. If family members were brave enough to admit it, they would confess that they might not be interested in each other if they weren’t related. You’re stuck with each other — in your family and within your tribe on Survivor.  Every family has issues and dysfunction. One could believe that Matt, Colton, Bill and Tarzan could all be from the same dysfunctional family. Even Leif, Jay and Jonas can be believable members of this imaginary family. Leaders within the tribe, family or community know that you must see the value in all members and work hard to build trust through respect and love. So, what can leaders learn from Survivor as well as from a healthy family model? Families, especially leaders within a family, have the following:

  • Unconditional Love (Support, Tough Love, Respect, Empathy)
  • Values – Rules – Traditions – Loyalty
  • Mercy, Grace, and Forgiveness

Every family has freaks, bigots, sexists, geeks, homophobia, and ageism to name a few.. We all have a tough time talking about and supportingfamily members with psychological issues, addictions, and individuals with disabilities — but we do. Each family has individuals who make more money, have more education, and have different ideas about success and worth. Every family has had members make mistakes, big mistakes; and at these times, the family has to seek guidance, find grace, practice mercy and give forgiveness. In a healthy family you have dysfunction but the leaders of the family plead to never give up on one another.  Family leaders expect a lot and challenge other family members, and everyone knows they will always find love and acceptance. Family leaders and elders pass along a set of values and rules through stories and by example. When family members don’t follow the rules — they can count on being held accountable and asked to face the consequences.

If the Survivor Manono Tribe were a functioning, healthy family (with issues, of course), one would hope they would deal with things differently. Here are some examples:

  • Matt, the self proclaimed leader of the Muscle Alliance, would have been taken down a few pegs in a real family.  Just because you are strong, have a law degree and have declared yourself in charge doesn’t mean it is so.  Matt made the mistake of not becoming part of the bigger family, getting to know others, laughing and playing with others, and eventually trusting and supporting others. Matt and Michael may never understand why the tribe would vote off someone so “strong” but for the others it was easy because they had no emotional bond with Matt.
  • Leif and Jonas on the other hand don’t take initiative enough. Matt could not gain the tribe’s trust and respect because he asserted himself too much.  Leif and Jonas will eventually lose favor if they don’t stand up for what they know is right; and more importantly, speak up when things are not right, just or respectful. On some level though you have to admire Leif’s honesty and compassion but when challenged he must stand up for what he believes is right or else he is destined to be vulnerable and abused.
  • Bill is the joker of the family.  Laughter is a wonderful part of any family but it can go too far. Bill comes on too strong, too soon, and at inappropriate times. Bill doesn’t have much of a filter and goes too far.  When challenged he gets defensive which turns people away even further. My guess is that Bill lacks some confidence and relies on teasing and jokes to feel acceptance.  Bill should relax, be himself, and let others get to know him first — before the jokes begin.
  • Greg aka Tarzan is a creative, accomplished, and wise member of the family.  Like a lot of older family members, Tarzan struggles with balancing fitting in with the younger members of the family while being true to his values.  Tarzan, like many other members of the tribe, has not taken the initiative to bring the entire tribe together.  This tribe is too small to have two different alliances and Tarzan can do something about it.  More than anyone else in the tribe, Tarzan, because of his wisdom and demeanor has a responsibility to put the tribe, or family, first.  Tarzan is missing an important opportunity.
  • And then there’s Colton. There is really no excuse for how offensive, disrespectful and destructive Colton has been to this family. Much of what Colton says is behind people’s backs. He has been particularly insensitive to individuals with disabilities.  Leif who is a little person has been called an Oompa-Loompa and a Munchkin by Colton.  Colton has said “if you can’t see that I am in charge then you must be Helen Keller.”  Colton thinks these comments are funny. He is too ignorant to understand that words, like “ghetto trash” and language are very harmful and hurtful. Colton is also an elitist and classist who doesn’t have any empathy for those who suffer misfortune, who are unemployed, homeless, and poor. Colton needs the unconditional love of a family which would not tolerate his bigotry and disrespect of others.  A family would hold him accountable for his words and actions and beliefs and still love and support him.

If you see each tribe as a family — you can begin to see hope for their Survival.  The problem with this group of men is that there was no true leadership and as a result they started this journey without ever seeing any value in their own family — their tribe.  They split up into two separate alliances the Muscle Alliance and the Misfit Alliance. They have mocked the notion of “One World.”  They have such little concern over the strength of the family as a whole — they voluntarily went to Tribal Council, a first in Survivor history.  The family would not have and cannot come together without the emergence of leaders who intentionally work at it.  This is where they care for each other as individuals, support and love each other, and help each other grow and learn and develop into better citizens.  This makes the family stronger.  Once the family is strong then collectively and individually they can start having a positive impact on the community. This unfortunately never happened with the Manono Tribe.

Just like your family — there is hope for the Manono Tribe.  Just when you think no one will every get along again — something happens that brings you all together. And like the Island of Misfit Toys, we’re not looking to change anyone — just for everyone to accept us, respect us, and love us unconditionally. One World.


Read more about studying Leadership while watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor, in the PCPop blog posts:





Story Book Leadership — Book List

In Big Bird, Books, Cat in Hat, Children's Literature, College Students, creativity, Dr. Seuss, Group Dynamics, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Leader, Leadership, Lists, Literacy Month, Lorax, Malavenda, Maurice Sendak, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Purdue, Shel Silverstein, Story Book Leadership, Theodor Geisel, UConn, Uncategorized, William Steig, Yertle the Turtle on March 6, 2012 at 7:29 am

stack of children's books

I have been teaching LEADERSHIP to college students for close to 25 years and have been using Children’s literature for over 15 years. When attending retreats, workshops and conferences, adults including college students love to regress.  The joy on their faces when you pull out a children’s story book is priceless.  Once they realize you are serious about using a children’s book to teach leadership, students really get into it. The discussion is lively, fun, and meaningful. It is magical. (Read the entire story in the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit.)

If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started. Selecting the perfect book is one of the first steps in the process of using Story Book Leadership.

children readingI encourage you to select one of your favorite’s from your childhood — your passion for the book will add genuine excitement to your presentation.  I would love it if you also went to your local library and bookstores (locally owned, of course), sat on the floor over the course of a few months, and discover and rediscover the wonderful world of Children’s literature.  You can learn more about my story by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit. But in case you don’t have time for that level of commitment, a list of some of my favorites are as follows:

  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith ViorstAlexander
  • Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
  • Benjie by Joan Lexau
  • Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure by Jan & Stan Berenstain
  • Big Bad Bruce by Bill Peet
  • Brave Irene by William Steig
  • But Not Billy by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
  • Eli by Bill Peet
  • Ella by Bill Peet
  • Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet
  • Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy
  • Frederick by Leo Lionni
  • Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. SeussBig Bad Bruce
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • Hector, the Accordion-Nosed Dog by John Stadler
  • I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today by Dr. Seuss
  • I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss
  • I Saw Esau by Iona & Peter Opie
  • If I Were in Charge of the World by Judith Viorst
  • I’m Mad at You! by William Cole
  • Ira Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber
  • Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
  • It’s Not Fair by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Jennifer and Josephine by Bill Peet
  • King Looie Katz by Dr. Seuss
  • Let’s Be Enemies by Janice May Udry
  • Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
  • My First Hanukkah Book by Aileen Fisher
  • My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate
  • My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Deamons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things by Judith Viorst
  • Nobody is Perfick by Bernard WaberHarold and the Purple Crayon
  • Nobody Stole the Pie by Sonia Levitin
  • Oh, the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
  • Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss
  • On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss
  • A Person is Many Wonderful, Strange Things by Marsha Sinetar
  • Play Ball Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Pooh: Oh, Bother! No One’s Listening by Betty Birney
  • Pooh: Oh, Bother! Somebody’s Grumpy by Betty Birney
  • Rosie and Michael by Judith Viorst
  • Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Pinkney
  • Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  • Spinky Sulks by William Steig
  • Tacky the Penguin by Helen LesterFrederick
  • The Ant and the Elephant by Bill Peet
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola
  • The Big Bragg by Dr. Seuss
  • The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  • The Chanukkah Tree by Eric Kimmel
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • The Glunk That Got Thunk by Dr. Seuss
  • The Gnats of Knotty Pine by Bill Peet
  • The Hating Book by Charlotte Zolotow
  • The Island of Skog by Steven Kellogg
  • The King’s Stilts by Dr. Seuss
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein
  • The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein
  • The Painter and the Wild Swans by Claude Clements
  • The Whingdingdilly by Bill PeetYellow and Pink
  • The Wump World by Bill Peet
  • The Zax by Dr. Seuss
  • Timmy Needs a Thinking Cap by Charlotte Steiner
  • What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss
  • When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? by Shel Silverstein
  • William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Yellow and Pink by William Steig
  • Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss

Yertle the TurtlePlease follow PCPop with Pablo to read the series of blog posts featuring many of the Children’s books listed above starting with one of my favorites, Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started.


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


To enjoy my Pinterest board on Story Book Leadership, click here.

Children Reading

Please suggest new books for the list — the list is a work in progress and will be updated as needed. What Children’s Books inspire you and would be perfect for teaching LEADERSHIP…and why? I would love to hear your suggestions and stories.

Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit

In Big Bird, Books, Cat in Hat, Children's Literature, College Students, creativity, Dr. Seuss, Group Dynamics, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Leader, Leadership, Literacy Month, Lorax, Malavenda, Margaret Hamilton, Maurice Sendak, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Story Book Leadership, Susan Baum, Theodor Geisel, UConn, Wicked Witch of the West, Willimantic Public Library, Yertle the Turtle on March 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Cat in the Hat's Hat

On March 2, the world once again celebrated the brilliance of Dr. Seuss on the day of his birthday.  Dr. Seuss’ birthday is used to launch Dr. Seuss self portraitReading Month and Reading programs and special events in elementary schools around the country. This year Dr. Seuss’ birthday sparked me to share my passion — teaching LEADERSHIP to college students using children’s leadership. This is the first in a series of PCPop blog posts focusing on Story Book Leadership.  Stay tuned for my first book review in honor of Dr. Seuss — Yertle the Turtle. But first here is the story of how I became so passionate about the power and potential of stories originally written and published for pre-school children.

In the summer of 1997, I stumbled on a class that changed my life – the way I think, the way I teach, the way I approach my life.  The class wasthe University of Connecticut EPSY 5750 – Creativity.  It is a part of the curriculum for the Three Summers Sixth Year Program in the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. The Three Summer program was developed by the gifted education guru, Professor Joseph S. Renzulli, to give teachers from all over the world an opportunity to join a community of colleagues committed to being the best in developing the talent in each child, take classes and participate in a “confratute.” After three consecutive summers, these professionals earn a graduate level degree – a 6th year certificate.

Dr. Susan Baum, who is a member of the program’s summer faculty, was the professor for this particular class. I wasn’t matriculating as a part of the formal program but somehow I was able to enroll in this class as I was still working on the coursework for a PhD in Higher Education Administration at UConn. In the true spirit of creativity, Professor Baum gave us our project and instructed us to pick a topic that would truly excite us – that we were passionate about – something we always wanted to study in the past but needed permission to pursue.  She was giving us permission and inspired us. After weeks of reflection — my topic and my project was decided — using Children’s Literature to teach college students about LEADERSHIP.

Children’s books have always intrigued me. One of the most popular classes at UConn for many, many years was an English class known by all as “Kiddie Lit.” Francelia Butler was an inspiration. Professor Butler also knew a few famous people who visited our class.  I remember Big Bird, the guy who invented Silly Putty, Maurice Sendak, and the Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton, coming to visit our little lecture hall in Storrs, Connecticut. At some point in my life I fell in love with and began to collect children’s literature.  The lessons found in these seemingly simple publications are powerful  — lessons about values, respect, courage, honesty, loyality, family, hope, persistence, love, service, humility, and yes, LEADERSHIP.  It wasn’t until I embarked on this journey – this class project – that I saw the true power of the word, the written word of Kiddie Lit.

I spent the entire summer of 1997 sitting on the floor of the Willimantic Public Library, in the Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayonchildren’s section, reading and reading and reading story books, children’s books, and picture books. I soon knew that I was on to something.  I found LEADERSHIP in so many stories that I decided to create a booklet which would serve as a directory for me and perhaps other higher education professionals.  My professional goals include teaching leadership by giving students opportunities to develop their own philosophy and skills — and to use any means to reach them and to teach them — including Children’s Literature.

The Children’s Literature Leadership Booklet that I created in this class during the summer of 1997 has become a valuable part of my professional library.  I refer to it often, and it hasn’t failed me yet. The list of my favorite Children’s books – those that have a profound impact on my teaching – have been compiled in a separate blog post.

Rediscovering the power and potential of using Children’s literature to teach leadership is merely one Story Book Leadership -- Yertle the Turtleexample of how this Creativity course has guided me these past 15 years. By the way, I got an A on the project and an A+ in the class but more importantly — that class, that summer, changed my life.

If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started. To see some of the best Children’s books focusing on various aspects of leadership, read the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List.


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


Survivor Leadership — Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer

In CBS, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Interaction Process Analysis, Komives, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Bales, Survivor, Timothy McMahon, TV shows, Uncategorized on February 14, 2012 at 12:06 am




Survivor: One Worldthe twenty-fourth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series, premiered on February 15, 2012. I triple love Survivor for many reasons — one of which may surprise you.  I consider myself a cultural anthropologist with a specialization in Pop culture — so, I force myself to watch as much cable TV and reality TV as possible.  Whether it is another Kardashian or some Wives spin off (including the Mob variety) or another show based in or featuring the colorful residents of the Garden State, I am there. What might surprise you is my assertion that Survivor teaches LEADERSHIP.  Yes, Leadership can be observed and studied by watching Survivor.  On Survivor, Leadership can be seen in a spontaneous and creative manner reinforcing leadership practices, theories and models both contemporary and historic. When I think of Survivor, I think of LEADERSHIP.

Survivor is an exciting experiment because it would not be allowed in most research settings. The basic premise of Survivor would never be approved by IRB. An institutional review board (IRB), also known as an independent ethics committee (IEC) or ethical review board (ERB), is a small group of experts that is formally designated to approve, monitor, and review bio-medical and behavioral research involving humans. On all levels Survivor would be considered high risk, cruel and unusual; and would never be approved by IRB. Part of the attraction of watching Survivor for me is that in most regulated research environments, this type of experiment on humans would be forbidden.  But because it is reality TV — anything goes — and scientists around the globe are jealous and observing — attracted and lured by the Forbidden Fruit. (At least I am.)

The stage is set for the grand experiment for the 24th time.  The producers have assembled 18 “contestants” — 9 women and 9 men.  This group of strangers is stranded on a deserted island or in the middle of the wilderness and forced to work together on tasks and challenges.  If you have watched Survivor you know there are three “tasks” that must be completed almost immediately after these strangers are assigned to their tribes.  Even if you haven’t seen Survivor but you’ve gone camping or played the teambuilding exercise “Earthquake,” you know there are a few survival techniques you can employ.  As you might know, the Earthquake exercise is used to demonstrate the importance of working in a team and the benefits of group decision-making.  The exercise involves ranking of options for surviving an immense earthquake.  Most groups immediately light the candles to illuminate the room and see what they’re doing.  Unfortunately, they end up losing because they blow themselves to smithereens by lighting the candles without first turning off all of the utilities. Ooops.

Robert Freed Bales, considered by many to be the guru of group dynamics and understanding the importance of the role of each team member, made many interesting observations that are directly relevant to Survivor. Bales observed that if you give a specific task to a group of strangers something happens.  Behavior is predictable and patterned and leadership emerges.  With Survivor there are three tasks that need to be completed immediately.

Today Survivors contestants have already watched all of the previous seasons on DVD; so, they know exactly what needs to be done before sundown. Can you guess? Is it “find food”? Nope, you don’t need food to survive but you do need water.  Clean water? Yes, but it also must be drinkable (salt water is clean but not drinkable). To be specific you need clean, drinkable water.


The first three tasks that must be completed by the new tribes before sundown on their first day are as follows:

  1. find clean, potable WATER
  2. build a FIRE
  3. build a SHELTER

Task #1 – find clean, potable (drinkable) water.

Task #2 — build a fire. Fire is important in so many ways.  Fire keeps you warm.  Fire cooks and sterilizes water and tools. Fire keeps away insects and critters and “lions and tigers and bears.” Nuff said.

Task #3 — build a shelter.  One could argue that a shelter is not essential to survival but I would disagree. Shelter gives the tribe a home and a place to “become” a tribe.  Like the town square gives a city a unifying place for the community — so does a shelter.  Also, nothing beats a good night’s sleep.  Tribe morale can be destroyed if the members are not getting a good night’s sleep.  You can’t sleep easily in the rain or with heavy winds. You can’t sleep well on the ground which can chill you to the bone and brings you too close to amphibians, insects and reptiles.  A good shelter can really have a positive overall impact on the entire tribe.


As the tribe members set out to complete these tasks, LEADERSHIP emerges.  Each team member takes on a role based on their actions.  Most actions are positive and help the group achieve its tasks or goals but others are negative.  According to Bales the team member who is the leader is often the member who is talking the most.  This is not because this person is the smartest or has the best ideas.  It is mostly because this person has all of the information from the entire group.  Because this individual is talking the most, other team members are sharing information with this person.  This person has the privilege of holding lots of information and is in the best position to ask questions and offer direction.  These are called “Task Oriented” leadership actions.  Successful leaders though also exhibit “Socio-Emotional” leadership actions.  These actions help to promote harmony within the group and among team members. Harmony is achieved when team members are praised, coached, valued, listened to and empowered. Over time trust is built within the group and the team members begin to perform on extraordinary levels.  A true leader makes sure that tasks are being completed and there is harmony in the team.  Both, not one or the other, are essential.

A leader today is defined as a person who can influence others to be more effective in working to achieve their mutual goals and maintain effective working relationships among members (Komives, 2007).  In this definition offered in Exploring Leadership (Komives, 2007), again there are two elements that define great leaders.  These two things are achieving mutual goals AND maintaining effective working relationships. Both, not one or the other. TASKS and RELATIONSHIPS are both essential in LEADERSHIP.

Soon the 24th season of Survivor begins.  As soon as the tribes get to their camp they will begin the tasks of finding water, building a fire and identifying a location for and building their shelter.  There are always one or two tribe members who take charge with building the shelter.  They identify a location typically near a natural barrier or wall, gather materials for building the floor, walls and roof of the shelter and start delegating tasks and barking orders.  Progress in building the shelter goes well until this self appointed “project manager” notices that not all of the tribe members are contributing.  Commitment to the task of building the shelter is uneven and the workload is not shared equally.  Inevitably there is a group of tribe members who can be seen in the distance chatting it up, laughing, enjoying each other while leisurely wading in the beautiful ocean water on the shore of the majestic beach on which they are all stranded.  The workers pause, wipe the sweat from their brow, feel the oncoming aches and pains of using muscles they haven’t used in months and roll their eyes at these “slackers.”  The resentment and tension begins to develop and rise within this newly defined tribe.

Fast-forward to Tribal Council and you shouldn’t be surprised that the self appointed “project manager” or one of the other hard-working tribe members is voted off FIRST.  Rarely does one of the “slacker” tribe members get voted off.  It is completely logical, right? Vote off the person who worked the hardest and contributed the most to building the shelter, gathering wood, fishing, finding water and food, etc.  Reflecting on our definition of Leadership and Bales’ theory, you know that you must do BOTH — TASK and RELATIONSHIP.  And early in the forming of a team, one would argue that RELATIONSHIP building is more important than TASK achievement.  The hard-working tribe members were certainly TASK oriented but they were not practicing any Socio-emotional Leadership actions.  The tribe members who were chatting it up on the beach were practicing Socio-emotional Leadership actions and “maintain(ing) effective working relationships among members.”  In other words — an icebreaker. In Survivor jargon, it is called building strong alliances.


The tribe members on the beach could not believe that the others could possibly start working together, building a shelter, without first “breaking the ice.”  These tribe members are not “slackers.” Quite contrary, they are working hard on socio-emotional or relationship building actions.

  • Where are you from?
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have?
  • Are you first-born?
  • Do you speak more than one language?
  • Do you prefer country living or city dwelling?
  • What do you read?
  • What music do you listen to?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Do you squeeze your toothpaste tube from the bottom or from the middle?
  • What is your career or work?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Toilet paper roll — do you prefer over or under?
  • What are your life’s passions?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?

These tribe members begin to form bonds and alliances based on things they have in common or things they do or do not agree on.  Most importantly, they are building relationships and beginning to care for and trust each other. Regardless of your work ethic, once you begin to know someone and respect them, you will support them, you won’t betray them, and you won’t “vote them off the island.” The one we are most willing to vote off is the one we don’t know much about.  If tribe members ONLY practice TASK oriented actions, they might as well be robots or pieces of machinery — easily voted off with no regrets and no feelings of remorse.The most interesting part of Bales’ observations is that TASK  and SOCIO-emotional are practiced unequally by members of the team; tension will develop between those high on TASK and those low on TASK; great leaders practice both TASK and SOCIO-emotional actions equally; and eventually, team members begin to collectively synchronize their TASK and SOCIO-emotional actions.

Leadership is about having a positive impact and getting things done with a cohesive, talented, supportive team, who is sufficiently challenged and empowered, bring out the best in each other, learn from the experience, and enjoy every minute.  This is why I love SURVIVOR!


(Plus — I met my favorite Survivor, Rupert Boneham, in the pits at the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a few months later I met him again at Panera Bread.)


Now that you have the basics, brush up on your leadership models, definitions and theories and get ready to watch it happen among the new tribe members on Survivor: One World.  It is like watching rats in the lab only they’re real people (well, sort of).  Watch the experiment unfold and see if you can predict who the LEADER is.  Is it the the person who took the time to develop relationships AND contribute to the tribe goals and tasks?  Is the leader the member who talks the most?  Are tribe members afraid to be perceived as the leader or do members come in entitled and assertive? Do the leadership roles change?  Do you see leadership skills that you admire?

Mostly I love that it is completely unpredictably, predictable.  We have no idea what is going to unfold within these Survivor tribes but the leadership that emerges is often patterned and predictable. If you are an emerging leader or a scholar of leadership practices and theories, you won’t know what you will see week after week on Survivor — which is fun and exciting.  We all experience it together.  Understanding Bales and other contemporary, relational and reciprocal leadership models, you too can see LEADERSHIP emerge among the tribe members on Survivor — at least for the first four to six episodes each season.  For someone like me who has been teaching Leadership for close to a quarter of a century, some semesters the most exciting part of teaching is the unpredictability and absurdity of Survivor.  Experiencing it with the students as it is happening.

PLEASE NOTE: Of course as the show progresses and the “game” starts to kick in — Survivor’s basic premise of voting off everyone until there is no team, no tribe, and just one sole survivor is the absolute antithesis of the LEADERSHIP model I hope you aspire to following.

Tune in and let me know what you think.  If you already planned on watching, I hope I gave you something more to observe and reflect on.  If you weren’t planning on tuning in this season, I hope I’ve convinced you it may be worth it. Gather a group of “students”; review the basics of Bales’ Interaction Process Analysis, Fielder’s Contingency Model and Least Preferred Co-worker Scale, Komives’ Relational Leadership Model, and any other Leadership model you like; study the Survivor website taking special note of the biographies of the tribe members, watch Survivor with a set of questions and behaviors and actions to look for and observe; and meet after Survivor airs and discuss.  You are now a professor of Leadership. You will be pleasantly surprised how much Leadership you are able to observe and discuss.  You and the students will be excited to learn together. You might even have found some value in studying Survivor — some value in studying Pop Culture — some value in studying Reality TV. Oh my.


Read more about studying Leadership while watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor, in the PCPop blog posts:





References:



CBS Survivor: One World airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. starting February 15, 2012; and can be viewed online.


Leadership Books – Recommended Reading

In Bennis, Blanchard, Books, Burns, Covey, DePree, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Komives, Leader, Leadership, Lists, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Pablo Malavenda, Timothy McMahon, Uncategorized, Wooden on June 18, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I am often asked “what’s a good leadership book?” I originally created this list for a keynote entitled Leadership Books that Student Leaders Should Read and have kept it updated since based on new discoveries and suggestions from others. If you have searched the web for leadership books or browse your local bookstore for books about leadership, you know that there are lots and lots of leadership books.  But most of them are not worth your time.  The books below are ones that have inspired me with new ideas, practical methods, and contain important elements of leadership like inclusion, ethics, team-work, service, creativity and social justice. This is not a comprehensive list but rather and guide for getting started.  The second section is called Leadership Light. These titles are intended to re-energize you or be focus on one specific topic.

Leadership Books:

  • Bennis, Warren G. (2009). 4th Edition. On Becoming A Leader. New York: Basic Books.
  • Burns, James MacGregor. (1978). Leadership. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Burns, James MacGregor. (2003). Transforming Leadership: A New Pursuit of Happiness. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.
  • Collins, James C. (2001). Good to Great. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Covey, Stephen R. (1992). Principle-centered Leadership. New York: Fireside.
  • Covey, Stephen R. (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Fireside.
  • Gardner, Howard (1995). Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership. New York: Basic Books.
  • Gardner, John W. (1990). On Leadership. New York: The Free Press.
  • Greenleaf, Robert K. (2002). Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness – 25th Anniversary Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
  • Harari, Oren. (2002). The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. (1977) 6th Edition. Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Komives, Susan R., Lucas, Nance, & McMahon, Timothy R. (2007). 2nd Edition. Exploring Leadership for College Students Who Want to Make a Difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Kotter, John P. (1996) Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2011). Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2008). 4th Edition. The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2008). The Student Leadership Challenge: Five Practices for Exemplary Leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Lencioni, Patrick. (1998). The Five Temptations of a CEO. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • White, B. Joseph (2006). The Nature of Leadership: Reptiles, Mammals, and the Challenge of Becoming a Great Leader. New York: American Management Association.
  • Wooden, John, Jamison, Steve (2005). Wooden on Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Leadership Light:
  • Byham, William (1988). Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment. New York: Fawcett Columbine.
  • DePree, Max (1989). Leadership is an Art. New York: Dell Publishing.
  • DePree, Max (1992). Leadership Jazz. New York: Dell Publishing.
  • Farber, Steve, Kelly, Matthew (2009). Greater Than Yourself: the Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership. New York: Crown Publishing.
  •  Hoff, Benjamin. (1982). The Tao of Pooh. New York: Dutton.
  • Johnson, Spencer & Blanchard, Kenneth H. (1993). The One Minute Manager. New York: Berkley.
  • Johnson, Spencer & Blanchard, Kenneth H. (1998). Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life. New York: Putnam.
  • Lundin, Stephen C. (2000). Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results. New York: Hyperion.
  • Ruiz, Don Miguel. (1997). The Four Agreements. San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publishing.
You will either be led or lead in every aspect of your life from work to school to your family or your neighborhood.  Leadership needs to be thoughtful and leaders must practice, practice, practice.  Taking risks and making mistakes is a critical part of learning and developing your personal leadership skills.

I hope this list gets you motivated to learn more about leadership, be a leader in your community, and become a role model for other aspiring and emerging leaders.

Leader Up!