Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Tribe Has Spoken

SPOILER ALERT! I’m a huge fan of Survivor. My wife and I watch the show religiously, because frankly, you can’t find a cast of characters weirder or more entertaining than the freaks they put on the show. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to watching a real-life Hunger Games, but thankfully, no one dies and the outcome doesn’t create a rebellious government.

If you’ve never seen the show, the premise is simple: anywhere from 16-20 people are divided into two tribes and sent to live on some remote island. They compete in challenges that win them rewards, like comfort and food, and immunity from going to tribal council. When a team loses an immunity challenge, they are sent to tribal council where they must vote off one of their own. This formula leads to secret alliances, backstabbing, lying, crying, and all sorts of amazing television moments.

I’d like you to try an exercise. Don’t share this exercise with your group until you know they are mature enough to handle the repercussions. I’d like you, just you, to play a game of a cappella Survivor: After each subsequent concert/gig, think of one person you want to vote off your tribe. Presumably, it would be the weakest member of your group. Continue doing this until you whittle your group down to what you consider the cream of the crop to be. If you choose correctly, you win a prize better than a million dollars- a finely tuned a cappella group (which I believe to be better than a million dollars).

The point of this exercise is not to determine the ranking of your members, like one person is more important than the other. The point of the exercise is to see who isn’t giving 100% of their efforts within the group; Who is phoning it in? Just like the challenges on Survivor, usually the tribe member who performs the weakest in the challenges gets voted off. (MOST of the time) It isn’t until the tribes merge, and each challenge becomes an individual challenge, that people start voting off the really good players to give themselves an edge.

I’m suggesting that you ignore this phase of the competition, and focus on making your tribe/group stronger. If you think your group is mature enough to try this exercise, go for it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you if the tears start coming.

The moral of the story is: Do you think, if every group member knew that they could be kicked out of the group by the majority if they fail to give 100% in rehearsals, would that change the way your group operates? If the answer is yes, then your group has some serious soul searching to do.

Marc Silverberg

Follow The Quest for the A cappella Major:

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