On May 24, 32-year-old Sarah Lacina, was voted the winner of the 34th season of CBS Survivor series. Lacina collected the $1 million prize, and according to show host Jeff Probst and other contestants it was her social intelligence abilities that were the difference.
In setting up the final vote (tribal council), Probst described three criteria:
- “Outwit would be the social part of the game. The emotional intelligence. Your alliances. Your relationships.
- Outplay would be how you responded by the conditions put on you by the game. How do you respond to the hand you’re dealt.
- Outlast is the most critical. Did you put people on the jury who respected how you outwitted and outplayed?”
During the subsequent pre-vote discussion, the finalists fielded questions from contestants who had been previously eliminated and now formed the voting pool for the winner. All parties recognized the importance of how social intelligence played out in the behaviors and emotions throughout the game. Some comments included:
“Sarah, you made such amazing relationships.”
“This is a social game built on relationships.”
Even those that had been eliminated through Lacina’s orchestration recognized her ability to make the crucial personal connections. “You controlled people’s feelings and emotions,“ noted one voter.
In describing her own behavior, Lacina pointed out two factors that helped her succeed. Citing her experience in undercover police work, she said that whole-heartedly taking on a role is important. “I have a role to play and you have to fully become that role to be credible.” She also credited her previous experience playing Survivor, saying she learned to take a more assertive stance the 2nd time around. “I played a great game this time. I learned what it takes. If it doesn’t work the first time. . .” Changing up her game and using her abilities to build relationships, led to success this time around.