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What ‘Apprentice 2’ Applicants Should Have Learnedby David Bloomberg -- 09/10/2004
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The Apprentice does not just look for a winner, like on most reality shows, but for somebody to actually get a job. It is, as Donald Trump says, a 15-week job interview. As with any interview, there are some things applicants should know going in.
Regular readers of RealityNewsOnline are familiar with my articles that address what contestants on Survivor, Big Brother, and American Idol should have learned, and weekly columns on why people lost. Last year, I did similar columns about why people lost on The Apprentice, though without the benefit of a blueprint article to work from. Now that we have a season of Trump behind us, it’s time to put that together, right here.
The Apprentice is very different from Survivor and Big Brother in an important way: Fellow contestants don’t decide who is going. Sure, one person picks two others to go into the Boardroom, but only Trump picks who doesn’t return to the suite. That means some of the classic rules from those blueprint articles won’t apply here. For example, scheming and plotting is not the #1 key in a competition that doesn’t really reward alliances because nobody votes (though it could come into play, as you’ll see). So what should Apprentice 2 contestants have learned from the first series? Let’s take a look.
1) Show Leadership
Trump is looking for an apprentice – but he is looking for an apprentice who can lead, not follow. That is what makes this the #1 rule to remember.
On several occasions, people were taken to task because they had not volunteered to be Project Manager as many times as somebody else who was with them in the Boardroom. By not being Project Manager, it could look to Trump like you’re trying to hide. Indeed, Trump told Nick flat-out that he wanted Nick to be the next Project Manager (which Nick did, and won, thus impressing Trump).
Sure, the Project Manager can end up getting more than his or her fair share of blame. After all, only the Project Manager is guaranteed to go to the Boardroom if the team loses. But the rewards are well worth it. Trump will notice if your team wins when you’re in command – especially if it happens more than once. The new rule this season only bolsters this notion, because the winning Project Manager one week is immune from firing the following week. Besides, we know that Trump doesn’t usually fire people based on one bad performance – he keeps a mental tally. You want to add up all the pluses you can to keep you going when you eventually hit a minus.
And when you are the Project Manager, by all means be the manager. Don’t let other strong personalities overwhelm you. If you’re going to be blamed for a loss, make sure it’s a loss that you created! Kwame showed leadership in the art challenge when he picked Meghan, the weird artist. Yes, it cost them the challenge, but he took a risk that could have paid off. When he got into the Boardroom, he didn’t make excuses or blame somebody else – he explained his reasons and came across as strong and decisive, even though he was wrong.
What is worse than walking into the Boardroom after having lost? Walking into the Boardroom and saying, “Yes, we lost, but it wasn’t my fault because I had no control over my team” or making some other similar excuse.
2) Stay Cool Under Fire
This rule cannot be stressed enough – and you, as a player, are going to be stressed plenty. Let’s face it, this is a bizarre situation. You are competing as teams, but within those teams you are also competing to stick around. Pressure will be placed on you by other team members while working on tasks. Then, if you lose, pressure will be placed on you in the Boardroom – possibly by team members, possibly by Trump and his cohorts.
The key is that you can’t let the pressure get to you. Trump told Newsweek, “You have to remain cool under fire and let criticism roll off you. Good leaders handle conflict easily and bad ones are eaten up by it.” This is not to say you should ignore criticism – especially if it comes from Trump, George, or Carolyn – but rather that you can’t let it consume you. If somebody fires on you in the Boardroom, you’d better be prepared to fire back, calmly and without emotion. Explain why the other person is wrong. Or, if they’re right, then say so in a way that shows you understand what happened and you are willing to accept your mistakes. One mistake probably won’t get you fired. But one mistake and then losing your cool about it could.
But the Boardroom is not the only place you will find stress. In the first series, Protégé lost some of their cash during the flea market challenge. Kristi became flustered about it, but Omarosa came across as cool, calm, and collected. In the Trump Ice challenge, both Nick and Bill said that Ereka was too emotional – this led directly to her uttering, “Don’t say it, Mr. Trump” in the Boardroom when it was clear he was about to fire her. Collapsing under pressure and begging is not the way to stick around.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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