Team Building: Reality (TV) Hits

Team Building:  When Reality (TV) Hits

Reality TV. Almost everyone denies watching it but the networks don’t keep airing programmes season after season that aren’t making money. If you’ve ever thought it might be fun to be a contestant on Survivor, Amazing Race. Top Chef, or one of the myriad of reality TV cooking shows, it’s possible to create a team building simulation corporate team event that comes close.

Team building consultants around the world are facilitating reality TV inspired business simulations. They range from Survivor inspired team building with outdoor challenges to  simulations with real projects.

(Corporate event planners are also using reality TV inspired themes for kick-offs, product launches, sales rallies, and other corporate events. For example, when I was dining on the patio at a Kuala Lumpur hotel, I had the pleasure of watching an American Idol inspired corporate event in the next room. It was part of a sales rally. I shared a table with one of the company’s employees who was dressed in leather and had quite the happening image. I asked him why he wasn’t up there. Years later, he wrote to me on Facebook and I did remember him. It was Larry Lim and we’re still connected. )

If you want to use the name of a TV programme and its branding, it’s EXTREMELY important to get a license from the producer (e.g. Mark Burnett Productions, Disney, CBS). A representative from the CBS legal department informed me that, for a fee and with enough lead time, a customized introduction with the host can be recorded. Appearances by former cast members can add an element of surprise to corporate events.

Team building with reality TV inspired business simulations can be a vehicle to focus on:

  • Project Management (Visexecutaries)
  • Cross-Functional Teamwork (Visexecutaries)
  • Thriving in a Fast-Paced Environment (Visexecutaries)
  • Fostering Innovation (Visexecutaries, Survivor)
  • Risk-taking (Survivor)
  • Dealing with Uncertainty (The Amazing Race, Visexecutaries, Survivor)
  • Tolerance of Ambiguity (The Amazing Race, Visexecutaries, Survivor)
  • Learning on the fly (Top Chef)

Here are examples of what’s possible.

Here are examples of what’s possible.


Like any other business simulation, reality TV inspired simulation must be ended with a full debriefing to identify:

  • key business insights
  • the tools and strategies that the team can use when they return to the office

Business application exercises can take place during the team building session or a week or two after returning to the office. They are a must. Without these two key ingredients, the time that you have invested will be just another recreational event with no impact on the bottom line.

For event planners and companies considering a reality TV inspired theme for team building or a team events, here are some places around the world where you can obtain assistance:

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2 thoughts on “Team Building: Reality (TV) Hits

  1. larry lim says:

    It’s amazing how relationships grow. Pure serendipity. The simulations
    Anne described above is definitely a fun way to run a teambuilding
    session. Why lead your team through a boring session when you can
    have a customizable, popular, inspiring, fun, memorable, and most
    importantly; impactful session which will enable you to achieve your
    corporate objectives?

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