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The Apprentice 2: Why John Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/20/2004
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The men had been on a roll – until John led them to a huge defeat in a task that was definitely among the most difficult for the male gender. But was it really John’s leadership that caused the problem or was it something else? Why did John lose?
As we do every week, it’s time to look to, What ‘Apprentice 2’ Applicants Should Have Learned to find out what John did right and where he went oh so wrong.
The first rule, of course, is to show leadership. One of the ways to show leadership is to make sure that you truly are the manager when you have that role. On the one hand, John showed leadership when he picked Ilsa as the designer, similar to the manner in which Kwame showed leadership in picking Meghan the artist last season. Both men lost and both assumed responsibility for their picks.
However, that’s where the similarity ends. John left far too many things to other people and failed to properly control his team. When they were at the textile shop, causing Carolyn to laugh so hard she cried, it looked like the way Apex normally operates. In case there is any doubt, that is not a compliment! There were people running hither and yon, and nobody had any real control. Where was John? Not there. Kelly had to assume control.
Later, the men decided that they had to be in the same room as the models in order to create clothing for them. This turned into a testosterone-fueled frenzy of activity that had little or nothing to do with actually accomplishing the task. And what did John do to get them on the straight and narrow? Nothing.
The morning of the fashion show, the men showed up to find that there was still a ton of work to be done. Where was John? Why wasn’t he checking in to make sure things were ready on time? Honestly, I think the men were complacent. Everything seemed to go their way for so long that it seems they thought they could just say, “Do it,” and it would magically be done. Not this time, though.
Finally, John abandoned critical tasks as the challenge deadline approached. Rather than stick around to oversee price, he ran off to oversee models. Pricing, as John should have learned during the previous challenge at QVC, is one of the most important – if not the most important – decisions during a challenge like this one. Yet he just left it in the hands of two other people, with absolutely no oversight on his part. Bad move.
As the rule says, “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.’” That’s essentially what John did – he had no control over his team and he gave away control on the most important tasks. This does not show good leadership.
However, John did a good job in abiding by the second rule – staying cool under fire. No matter what was going on during the challenge, John never seemed to get flustered. In fact, we might question whether John even cared. The same was true at the Boardroom. He took responsibility for selecting the designer, he calmly tried to explain that pricing was the problem, etc. Even when he was called out by Trump near the end for having made mistakes, he owned up to them. He never cracked under the pressure.
At the same time, John followed the third rule and stood up for himself. He blamed Kevin and Wes for failing at pricing and tried to sell Trump & Co. on the idea that he was a good worker during other tasks. Didn’t work, but he tried.
One reason it didn’t work is that even if he was a hard worker in other challenges, it was this one they lost and this one he was supposed to lead. Trump is looking for a leader, so it was this challenge that meant the most.
The fifth rule says to be loyal. John did protect some of those people who supported him, such as Raj. However, that might have actually been to his detriment.1 2 Next-->
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