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The Apprentice 2: Why Rob Lostby David Bloomberg -- 09/16/2004
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The second series of The Apprentice began, and with it the phrase, “You’re fired,” is back in our everyday speech (well, mine anyway). Rob was the first one to hear it, and it was well-deserved. What did he do wrong? Why did Rob lose?
Last year, I began my columns on why each Apprentice applicant lost mid-season, after we had learned something about what Donald Trump was looking for. But unlike other similar columns for other shows, we didn’t have a blueprint. Now we do – What ‘Apprentice 2’ Applicants Should Have Learned. So we will use that blueprint to take a look at what Rob did wrong.
The first rule is to show leadership. Only two people showed true leadership this week – Bradford and Pamela, the two who volunteered to step away from their own teams and lead the teams of the opposite sex. This took guts. Indeed, whomever Pamela took into the Boardroom with her was at an immediate disadvantage because I believe she was given deference for this very reason. Pamela showed she would step up; Rob didn’t.
The second rule is to stay cool under fire. Rob did fine at this – if anything, he did a bit too well, at least during the competition phase. He put forth ideas and had them shot down. So he calmly sat back and let others do the work. Then, before heading to the Boardroom, he calmly figured out what his strategy would be. I’m not saying these were smart things to do, just that he did them calmly.
The part where we address whether they were smart things comes in the third rule, having a backbone. Rob did stand up for himself in the Boardroom, so he was fine there. However, he failed to do so in the challenge. As the rule says, “You need to stand up for yourself and your ideas during the tasks.” Rob simply didn’t. He tossed out an idea or two and when they weren’t accepted he sat back and waited to be asked to do something. I’m pretty sure Trump is not looking for somebody to sit in an executive’s chair and just wait for somebody to ask them something, and Rob should have been smart enough to figure that out as well.
The fourth rule is to not be one-dimensional. We didn’t get to see enough of Rob to know much about him, however, we did hear Pamela say in the Boardroom that Rob is great at sales but lacks depth. Certainly, she could have just been trying to aim Trump in any direction but her own, but she must have seen something to bring sales up, since the first challenge had nothing to do with sales. Indeed, he is currently the VP of sales for his company. This does bring up a question, though. In sales, does he just sit back and wait for customers to come to him? I rather doubt it! So why did he act that way in the first challenge?
Fifth is to be loyal. In this case, his Project Manager was gunning for him from the start, so loyalty didn’t really come into play. We’ll move on.
The sixth rule says not to show your hand. It seems apparent that Pamela must have at least tipped hers a bit because Rob was pretty certain he was going to be picked to go into the Boardroom with her. Then again, it might simply have been that he realized he did nothing. In either case, he prepared himself, but his reasoning didn’t hold up even with the preparation. Rob himself didn’t appear to tell others what his plan was, though, so it didn’t affect him negatively either.
The seventh rule, focusing on the long-term, really didn’t come into play here. Frankly, I’m not sure what Rob was focusing on, as it didn’t appear to be short-term or long-term. Perhaps he was focused on resting up for the next challenge.
Did Rob at least try to think outside the box? Well, from what we saw, the only idea he put forth was to use eels. Um. Not really outside the box, but kind of outside the point of their entire concept (which was to use swappable appendages on crustaceans – and, as Betsy Wasser pointed out in her recap, eels don’t have appendages. Maybe he contributed more than that, but we certainly didn’t see it. And I doubt any of it was earth-shattering, considering the way most of his teammates reacted to him during the challenge and in the Boardroom.
Finally, we are at the rule that shouldn’t need any explanation, but usually does: Use common sense. It seems to me that it would be common sense to know that Donald Trump is looking for a leader, not some guy who wants to sit back and let others do the work just because they didn’t like his idea. It also seems that it should have been common sense for all 18 of the applicants to volunteer to lead the other team – they should have been fighting for those positions, instead of backing away from them like scared bunnies. I guarantee that Pamela received extra leeway because she stepped up and took that job on.
Rob started off on the wrong foot, and since his team lost the first challenge, he didn’t have time for another foot to hit the floor. He didn’t volunteer to be the Project Manager for the women, but he attacked the woman who volunteered to be his Project Manager. He threw out some ideas and when they were rejected he sat back and did nothing. Then he tried to blame Pamela for his own failings. It wasn’t just a battle of words between him and Pamela – several other members of his team saw it as well, and it was apparent that Trump, George, and Carolyn took that into account. Andy was never really a factor in this decision, so it came down to a choice between Rob and Pamela. It was the guy who refused to step up vs. the woman who volunteered to lead; the guy who didn’t work vs. the woman who didn’t ask him to do enough. In a decision like this, there can only be one answer – Trump does not want the guy who sits back and waits for others to come to him; he wants the go-getter, the leader. That is why Rob lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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