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The Apprentice 2: Why Wes Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/22/2004
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Wes was the Project Manager twice. Wes’ team lost both times. This is not a good path to working for Donald Trump. Still, Wes thought – if only for a moment – that he was okay. He heard Trump fire Maria. That should have been the end of it, followed by an article on Why Maria Lost… but it wasn’t. Then came the follow-up, and Wes was fired too. What had happened? One wasn’t enough? What did Wes do so poorly that Trump had to pull a double-firing? Why did Wes lose?
You know the basics. We find out the answers to these questions by looking back at What ‘Apprentice 2’ Applicants Should Have Learned and taking a step-by-step approach. Let’s see where Wes went wrong.
The first rule is a quick step in the right direction for us – and was just as quickly in the wrong direction for Wes. As already noted, Wes led twice and lost twice. An 0-2 record is not really what Donald Trump is looking for in a leader.
The first time was in the dog-wash challenge. Sandy and Kelly washed. Maria strutted around in completely inappropriate clothing. Stacy tried to convince the group to put dogs in costumes. And Wes… Wes… Um. Well, okay, I’m not really sure that Wes did anything other than saying “no” to Stacy’s idea.
Back when I wrote Why Stacy Lost, I noted that I thought it was unfair to blame Stacy for the loss and fire her. Who should have been held responsible? Wes. As I noted at the time, Stacy at least brought an idea for diversification – Wes blew it off. Yet the reason the other team won was that they diversified! And other than shooting down Stacy, he did pretty much nothing the entire time. That was how he led.
The second time around, what did he do? Well, let’s see. He let Maria immediately take over and run the show. He made feeble attempts to exert control over her but stopped when she rebuffed him. He let her run roughshod not just over him, but over other team members as well! When two of his team fought for 20 minutes, he did nothing. All in all, he was a big zero of a leader.
OK, so that’s one rather large strike against him. Let’s move on to the second rule, staying cool under fire. I have to say, Wes did a fine job of this. But then, I’m not quite sure Wes has emotions or even a nervous system. He always seemed to have the same blah look on his face. I mean, how many people would take it when Maria – an underling, no less – stuck her finger in their face and yelled at them? Yet Wes did. Yes, he was cool under pressure, but that’s because he was cool – nay, dead cold – all the time.
Since he didn’t appear to have a nervous system, what about a spine? That’s a big nope as well. As we’ve already noted, he let Maria walk all over him. Ironically, when he should have given one of his employees a bit more leeway – in the dog challenge – that was when he stood up and said no. Or maybe the problem was that Stacy just wasn’t overbearing enough to get past “no.” Maria didn’t care what Wes said, and Wes let her get away with it.
The fourth rule says you can’t be one-dimensional. I’m sure Wes is good at something – I just can’t recall what it might be. But we sure as hell know that leadership ain’t it.
We return to Wes’ handling of Maria in the fifth rule, about being loyal. There is a corollary to the rule that says, “when you have the opportunity, you should surround yourself with the best people. This means people who will be loyal in return, but it also means capable people.” We failed this before the challenge even began when he and the rest of Mosaic sent Kelly over to Apex. Wha?? Why send Kelly instead of Maria? Wes would have been much better off with a better decision, but he failed to keep a good person.1 2 Next-->
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