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The Apprentice 3: Why Tara Lostby David Bloomberg -- 02/25/2005
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Tara took on the Project Manager’s role in the PS2/graffiti challenge because she was certain that she could lead her team to a win. It didn’t turn out that way. What happened to cause Net Worth’s loss. Why was the focus so obviously on Tara? Why did Tara lose?
When it comes to questions like these, we here at RealityNewsOnline answer them by looking back at What ‘Apprentice 3’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see what we can dig up, and Tara’s loss is certainly no exception.
The first thing people on this third Apprentice series should have known is to show leadership. Tara did this by stepping up and saying she would take the reins for this Harlem-based task because she felt she knew how to approach it best. That part was good. Unfortunately, Tara had a bit too much confidence in her own knowledge of what should be done and lost sight of what the actual goal of the challenge was.
This challenge was not about reaching out to the people of Harlem, or making a social statement about the rebuilding of the area. It was about advertising a video game to a particular target audience. Period. But Tara had never played the video game in question, and did not ask for input from those who had. She had it all planned out in her head, and was not going to be distracted by the facts.
I will say that part of this rule is, “If you’re going to be blamed for a loss, make sure it’s a loss that you created and that you took a stand.” However, that really is aimed at taking intelligent risks, not making completely the wrong decision!
The second rule says to stay cool under fire, and we saw nothing that indicated Tara was ever anything but cool, calm, and collected. Her relative lack of face time earlier in the series supports the idea that she was not one of the screamers, arguers, or buffoons. And when she was leading this task, she handled whatever divisions cropped up quite professionally – such as when she dealt with the Craig/Audrey issue. In the Boardroom, her behavior was similar, so she had no problems here.
Similarly, she had no issues with the third rule, having a backbone. She led this task firmly, from start to finish. She knew what she wanted, and she got it. Indeed, one part of the rule says, “if you think you are the best at doing something, you should try to do it.” Tara felt she was the “hip, urban demographic” that Sony was shooting for, and she also understood the neighborhood. Therefore, it made sense for her to step forward and take the Project Manager role.
However, here is where Trump’s Lesson of the Week of “shut up and listen” comes into play. Alex, the other team’s Project Manager, knew he didn’t have a clue what people in the neighborhood or people who played that type of game wanted, went out into the street and asked them. Tara was so sure of herself that she didn’t ask for any other input. The real lesson here is that even if you think you’re the best at something, you still need to get outside input.
The fourth rule advises players against scheming and plotting, but also tells them not to show their hand. As soon as Tara found out Net Worth had lost, she began plotting in her own mind. Up until that point, everything had been “I, I, I.” As soon as they lost, it was somebody else’s fault – she was certain of that! Still, she didn’t actually scheme with the other players, as far as we saw, so she was okay.
She was also okay in the fifth rule, playing well with others and staying professional. As I already mentioned, from everything we can see Tara was a good team player who didn’t fight and argue like some we’ve seen. The one thing she did wrong as far as getting along with others was her failure to let the other team members know that she had left Craig in charge of painting while she was gone doing whatever it was she was doing. I’ve been in situations like that at my own job, where somebody else was in charge but nobody had been told – it can get uncomfortable, fast. However, even that situation she rectified quickly and professionally. Craig and Audrey really seemed to be making more of a big deal about that than it was worth.
The sixth rule says to focus on the long-term, and it didn’t really come into play here. So let’s move on.
Seventh is to think outside the box, but not too far. Incorporating a social message into an ad would definitely be considered outside the box. However, forgetting that the main point is to sell a specific product is where Tara went too far outside the box. In the world of advertising – and business in general – you have to keep the interest of the customer as your main goal. Tara lost sight of that, as evidenced by the fact that she had pretty much her whole idea before ever meeting with the Sony executives.
We’ve already discussed that Tara was not a trouble-maker, as far as we saw. From what we could tell, she worked hard and did what was necessary in previous tasks. However, because of this she was not shown much and it is difficult to judge how well she did in following the eighth rule, which says you can’t be one-dimensional. In any event, it did not contribute to her firing, so we can safely skip it.
Finally, we arrive at the rule that tells players to use common sense. Many of the things we’ve discussed fall into this category as well. For example:
Tara had apparently done well in the game until this point. Indeed, Trump & Co. even indicated that they thought she is an intelligent woman who will go far. However, she took the lead in this task not just as Project Manager, but as Dictator, and she completely blew it. There was truly nobody else that could have been blamed, because she didn’t allow anybody else to really participate. That is why Tara lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Apprentice 3 Episode 5 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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