William Sprankles @wsprankles

What Leadership can Learn from the MTV Challenge Series: Rivals.

What Leadership Can Learn from Rivals

The concept is brilliant. If you have not yet seen MTV’s 2011 summer series, Rivals….you are missing some great entertainment, but more importantly great lessons in leadership.

Contestants are partnered up with their worst enemy from a prior series. They are then thrust unto a series of challenges in which they must compete in order to survive, or get eliminated from the show. It is a true test of character, pride, relationships and will-power. It is a new opportunity to rebuild a failed relationship.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” -Henry Ford

This type of Reality TV concept is so true in organizations of all sizes. Often, people offend each other and destroy relationships, get into fights and arguments of all levels, and most importantly, lose trust.  However, they have to still come back to work the next day, and usually for a common cause, task, goal or purpose. In Education, this is even more critical….because we must return to our schools, classrooms and offices….for the mission of teaching our children. Therefore, Leadership is critical. Below are 5 key lessons from Rivals that many of us can learn and model in our organizations.

1. Forgiveness is critical. Don’t hold grudges. Learn to give everyone second chances. Move on.

2. Be willing to Adapt and Change. Situational Leadership is key. There is nothing wrong with modifying your personality around someone else, especially if there is natural tension. Making these types of changes are ok as long as you aren’t sacrificing cultural values or integrity.

3. Consciously Rebuild Trust. Focus on repairing the relationship and attempt to see the perspective of your former rival. Be conscious about it and understand it takes time for both sides to grow and develop.

4. Synergize. At some point, we must go full steam ahead together. Putting grudges aside allows us a greater Return on our Investment. All of us have strengths – and if we can each find a unique way to contribute to the mission – synergy becomes a powerful variable.

5. Praise. Acknowledge the strengths of your former rival. Discuss the new found relationship. Embrace it and be proud of it.

The ultimate outcome is simple, yet profound…..either forgive, change and adapt in order to create a strong trustworthy relationship and thrive.  Or, remain stubborn-willed, hold on to past grudges and refuse to rebuild broken relationships so you can get sent home, with both sides losing, and both sides failing again.

What are you going to do about your current Rivals?

Do you have the courage to consciously rebuild these relationships?

Be the first one to reach out and extend a new opportunity.

Onward and Upward.

By William Sprankles

Princeton High School, Principal


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