Reality TV Villains and why they don’t win in business

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Psychologists engaged by TV executives must have fun casting reality TV show contestants. They spend hours poring over the applicants to get a cross-section(emphasis intended) of contestants most likely to be adored or hated by cast-mates and viewers alike.

There are the bogans, the babes, the gay couple, the brother & sister, the ethnic couple, the BFF’s, the hipsters and the funny guys.

But of all the psychological profiles crafted in pre-production, casting the Reality TV Villain is the money shot.

So much is invested in the villain (or villains) creating chaos and mayhem. They polarize their fellow contestants and viewers on the couch with their devious behaviour and game-changing actions.

You can’t look but you can’t look away.

Entire episodes are promoted solely on the premise of revealing just one action by the villain.

Who are some of the most famous Reality TV Show Villains?

The only villain of note (that I can recall) to have won has been Richard Hatch in Season 1 of Survivor. Remember him? He subsequently was charged with tax evasion through failing to pay tax on his prize-money and served over four years imprisonment.

Johnny Fairplay (he created the nickname himself) was also a contestant on Survivor. He infamously claimed his grandmother had died while on the island to garner sympathy. This was later discovered to be an elaborate lie. Alas, Johnny would only come third. It appears that Fairplay is also a villain off the screen as he is banned from appearing at any events attended by Survivor Host Jeff Probst because he had a brawl with Probst’s brother!

Omarosa gained villainous fame as a polarizing contestant in Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. She too failed to win. However, after later Reality TV collaborations with Trump she was most recently appointed as a political aide to Trump in the White House. Looks like the apprentice got the job, albeit twelve years after screening. And what a job!

There must have been over a hundred true villains in the myriad of reality TV shows spurned over decades. Despite their prominence, these traits almost never win them the competition.

What are Villain traits and how are they characterized in business?

  • Narcissism, arrogance and hubris.
  • Dishonesty and untrustworthiness.
  • Selfishness.
  • Aggression.
  • Sleazy, pushy & salesy persona.
  • Win/Lose mentality.
  • Lies, rumours and deceitfulness.
  • Talk at you.
  • Don’t listen.
  • Unethical.
  • Lack empathy.

The list goes on. It reminds me of an old saying. Get me once – fool you. Get me twice – fool me.

They may have sporadic results in business having duped people on a transaction. But they won’t enjoy sustainable success over the journey as they run out of people to burn.

Now let’s look at how the Reality TV Villain archetype could be repurposed to win in business.

  • Villains are big on strategy so utilize strategic edge.
  • Being highly intelligent, combine intellect with a killer strategy.
  • Use polished meeting skills.
  • Self-belief (real or manufactured) is huge.
  • Pivot charm and charisma to build relationships through trust not enmity.
  • Unleash work ethic and drive to outlast competition.
  • Street savviness is advantageous.
  • Utilise strong negotiation skills as a key weapon.

The Moral of the Story

Reality TV shows, like business, are rarely won by villains.

While some early wins might be enjoyed, as time passes the real character of a person is revealed.

As Leonard Cohen sang ‘Everybody Knows’.

Don’t get sucked in to thinking that some of those villainous tactics are effective in business.

They’re not.

Better to look at the fan favourites. I promise you’ll find many of their behaviours and attributes present in a winning business owner’s playbook.

I wrote in my book The Fourth Moon that the fourth moon of leverage is abundant and not overcrowded. It is a destination reached only by business owners that have created sustainable success.

You’re unlikely to meet any Reality TV Villains on the Fourth Moon!    

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To start creating sustainable success in your business and life, download a copy of my eBook 'The Success Algorithm' which details my process to work less and earn more. You can get a free copy on the Giveaways page of my website. Plus some bonus videos from my Fourth Moon video series to reach your goals sooner!

All the best, 

Darren K Bourke