I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser for several seasons. It’s inspiring to watch others lose weight, demonstrating the concepts taught here at Eleven Minute Awesome. It’s fascinating to watch people who were hopeless regain their hope, confidence, and passion. TBL is also a game, where the person who loses the largest percentage of weight wins a huge sum of cash. Quite the incentive. Even though there is a lot which happens behind the scenes and off camera, there are many observations and strategies which can be gleaned from the on-camera moments. These strategies can be applied to our every day lives at home and in the workplace.

1. Gameplaying Doesn’t Work
Those people who use the gameplaying mechanisms within the Biggest Loser usually generate animosity with their fellow contestants. These mechanisms might be overt, where they are the person to win the temptation. They might be more subtle, as in gaining weight to throw a weigh in for the team. In most instances, what will generally happen is that the person is safe only as long as they have immunity and then will be removed very soon afterward.

With this week, we got to see the entire team throw the weigh in so that they would have the chance to kick one player off of the show. Each one of the members who intentionally performed poorly felt bad about their decision and regretted not doing their best. Granted, Daphne (the team member they were kicking out) made several mistakes to put herself on the chopping block, but the game playing to manipulate the situation was deplorable.

In the workplace, there are many opportunities for game playing and making yourself look good despite the activities of the rest of the team. Backhanded, secretive, and manipulative moves are almost always detected and generate animosity with the other team members. Since team dynamics change on a dime, you don’t know whose ears will be whispered into. It’s best to be thought of as a solid performer rather than one who is manipulable with politics. .

2. Steady at the Start, Excel at the End
The people who are seen as threats are often eliminated by those who are playing the game. What will happen is that the person with the highest percentage of weight loss is set up as a target, and the others will attempt to bring them down as soon as possible to allow themselves to gain a little higher ranking within the household. Running out of the gate at a full clip is a recipe for burnout for the later episodes as well as putting the target on your back.

Those who are steady at the beginning and stay within the middle of the pack are usually given several weeks at the Biggest Loser ranch. They’re not poor performers, as the slowest gazelle is often the one first eaten, but they’re not the ones who are breaking down the doors to the place. Remember that the middle of a pack of speeders doesn’t get pulled over by the cops – it’s the ones in front and the ones in back. The same principle works in social situations.

At the workplace, the person who is in the front of the pack is always going to have a target on their back. These people are seen as suck-ups, as teacher’s pets, and more. They set themselves apart from the rest and usually end up getting ostracized. When you’re in the middle of the pack, you have the opportunity to gain information about what makes the ones in the front excel, and you have the chance to learn from their mistakes. You also receive reasonable raises, and get noticed as a team player.

3. Be Nice, Be Friendly, Show Vulnerability
The people who go the furthest in the Biggest Loser are not the assholes. The assholes are tossed out as soon as the ones at the back of the pack are removed. Setting yourself apart is also a way to get eliminated, because people feel that they cannot relate to you and that you don’t have anything in common with them. Intentional isolation does not work, but being loud and obnoxious doesn’t work either.

The ones who make it the furthest in The Biggest Loser are often the ones who have charisma, are friendly and kind to their fellow contestants, and show a little bit of their personal vulnerabilities so that others have something in which to relate. For instance, Buddy is going to go a long way during this season, because he appears to be a mediator type and is friendly to everyone around. He’s also a consistent performer.

People will often give you the benefit of the doubt if you start straight out of the box with kind and encouraging words to your fellow team members. If you act like a know it all, or you’re incredibly quiet, the people around you will not have something to relate with. At the workplace, that beginning kindness that you exhibit will allow others to give you the benefit of the doubt when inevitable mistakes occur.

4. Observe, Then Act
At The Biggest Loser, one of the largest mistakes that you can make is to question the trainer as to his motivations. We’ve seen back talking happen from Conda this season, and that has set her up as a target. The better plan is to stay quiet and watch everything that is happening, then act on the star within when the time is right. Kimmy is showing this attribute, as are several of the others within the field. Knowing where the storms are gives you the best opportunity to get out your umbrella when the time is right.

Study the dynamics of your organization from an objective viewpoint. In the beginning, offer suggestions only when they’re solicited while you gain a better understanding of the way that things work. Stay quiet for a while and be a solid performer, and when you finally choose to act and shine, you will have a greater impact.

5. Build Alliances
Alliances are often formed within the Biggest Loser. The most potent of alliances can carry a contestant on to later episodes, or at least get them to the cherished makeover week. In season 10, the alliance with Frado and the others saved Elizabeth from elimination until she became America’s Vote Victim (because others saw that she was playing the game). This alliance began very early, and carried through.

Notice the strongest people within your organization and be friendly with the or ally yourself directly with them. Do this only after waiting for a while, and proving yourself as a solid performer. The best alliance is one which is formed when the strongest players come to you, rather than the other way around. After observation, it’s easy to tell who these people are. With them on your side, either overtly or covertly, you can go far.

6. Be Solid, Be There
When you’re not there for the team on The Biggest Loser, you will be eliminated unless there is someone who is making even more horrible errors in their eyes. If you are the weakest link, you will be eliminated out of course. In this season, we’ve seen Roy leave because of this. He was not being a team player, and when he was the lowest, he was released. Being a consistent, solid performer on The Biggest Loser will get you far.

in the workplace, the best thing that you can do is show that you are focused upon the task and be a solid performer. Being at the bottom sets you up for elimination, and being at the top sets you up as a target for office politics. If you’re solid, perform above average work, and are focused upon your tasks, you will gain a lot of ground and be less worried about being a victim of layoffs and more.

7. Know Your Purpose
What will usually happen at The Biggest Loser is that people will be enamored with the idea that they can win $250K in the beginning, realize that they’re there to lose weight in the middle, and then push toward the $250K again in the end. Those people who are there for the sole purpose of losing weight and bettering their lives are more likely to get further on the show. We witnessed this with Ramon last season, and Courtney in the season before.

Those people who get ‘the look’ of success on their face the earliest are poised to do better than those who have no idea why they’re there until later on. Often, the efforts which they put forth are seen as ‘too little, too late’ or if they were a gameplayer… well, they’ll be seen as gameplaying and manipulative. We saw this from Tracey in one of the prior seasons.

At the workplace, you’re there to make money. You’re also there to develop yourself into a better person and be a true asset to yourself and your team. Growth is seen as necessary, and those who appear to be there solely for the money are often eliminated early on, before the true rewards can be doled out. By knowing what your purpose is in the beginning, you will get further.

On the Biggest Loser and in the workplace, much of the time should be spent in observation and being kind to others. Take the time to learn about others and hear their stories, as in doing that you will be thought of more kindly when the elimination portion happens. While the dynamics are not as cut and dried as they are on the Biggest Loser, your position in the workplace will be improved with observation, care, and purpose.

What have you learned from watching reality television? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.