Last week was the first episode of Survivor, Season 41. I have not missed an episode in 40 seasons, except one episode in Season 7 in the Pearl Islands. I suppose that makes me a fan.
Of course, it’s “only” reality TV (or so I am told). But its reality sometimes mirrors workplace realities.
Last week was no exception. If you unfortunately missed last week, let me catch you up before you tune in tonight.
This season, the rules of the game have changed in so many ways. But that’s not the focus of this blog.
Let’s talk about how the game begins. In the past, Jeff Probst would welcome in the cast by saying "come on in, guys."
But last week, before he said it, Jeff asked whether he should change it. Inclusion was obviously the issue.
In response to his question, Evve said that she was fine with “guys” and no one stated that they disagreed with her. So it appeared "guys" would remain.
But, later, Robert voiced concern about the term "guys." Jeff responded, "I'm with you." It was clear Jeff wanted to make the change and was looking for the help of his team to get there.
So, guys will be retired. Instead, Jeff will simply say “come on in.”
Some on Twitter tweeted Survivor had gone “woke.” In trying to devalue the change, the critics only underscored the reasons for the change.
Words matter when it comes to inclusion. And it is hard to deny that guys have a gender connotation. Right, ladies?
Some asked was it really such a big deal that the word needed to be changed? I would reframe the question: what’s the big deal in making such an easy change that increases inclusion?
We hear a lot about micro-aggressions. The counterbalance is what I refer to as “micro-equities” and this change was one.
When I raised this issue with another fan, he said that the change was “long overdue.” Perhaps, but this reaction caused me concerned, too.
If we want people to grow, we need to give them the opportunity to do so. When positive changes are made, it is understandable some may say “late” but I think it is more productive to say “great.
Breaking with a long-standing tradition can be difficult. A little positive feedback to those who make these changes can go a long way in encouraging other positive changes.
So, thanks, Jeff. I look forward to seeing you tonight. I also look forward to seeing the cast when they “come on in.”