Magazine article Training & Development


Magazine article Training & Development


Article excerpt


At watercoolers throughout corporate America, a hot topic of discussion over the summer was the TV show Survivor.

When the show started its run, T&D posted a question to the ASTD Website asking visitors what they thought about contestant--and corporate trainer--Richard Hatch: Was he using group process skills? Would you hire him as a trainer? Would he win? The consensus among visitors was that Richard wasn't well liked or expected to win.

After Richard won the $1 million, T&D posted a second question asking visitors whether they thought Richard's actions on the island parallel the corporate world, reinforce a Dilbertesque notion of corporate life, or, most important, reflect badly on the training profession.

Here's what some trainers had to say.

Before Richard won

During the first episode, Richard tried using teamwork skills, but his "teammates" weren't interested. I think that Richard was unsuccessful at applying classroom tools because the game is set up to have a single winner rather than a winning team.


One of the most interesting aspects of this show is its misrepresentation of teamwork. Had this been an actual survival situation, Richard's teambuilding and alliance-building skills would have proved essential.

K. Mindeman

I'm offended that he's identified as a corporate trainer. Because of that, I'm using an alias title when I introduce myself


I hope that Richard's not giving corporate trainers a bad name! My co-workers and I could relate to him when he was trying to use a teambuilding approach, but that soon went up in flames!


It's disappointing that Richard's using skills that were meant to help create positive teambuilding and learning opportunities to increase the size of his wallet.


I find it interesting Richard's team is doing so much better than the other team. Its infrastructure is stronger, and it uses [its members'] individual skills to support the team. It must be the result of leadership with teamwork.


After Richard won

The show was a microcosm of corporate life. If you have been involved in a downsizing or merger, you can recognize the "survival" mode.


Though I do agree that the survivalist instinct occurs during downsizing and mergers, I would not consider the TV show a "microcosm of corporate life."

Though I wasn't rooting for Richard, I believe his keen observation of the other players helped him position himself to win. …

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