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The Apprentice 3, Analysis of a Win: A Lonely Driveby Angela Dalecki -- 04/21/2005
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As of this week, Magna has now won seven tasks in a row. Despite endless “corporate reshufflings” and lost teammates, they haven’t failed at a task since the acquisition of Tana and Craig back in week five. However, even the best teams need work occasionally. The fact that Magna has stayed out of the Boardroom for almost two months now speaks volumes about the team’s level of accomplishment. But it also means that there could be serious problems that aren’t coming to light in Boardroom battles. (Remember Amy from Season One? She managed to stay out of the Boardroom the whole time she was on the show, but it ended up really hurting her once she reached the final four.) Let’s see where Magna currently stands by taking a look at how they performed on this week’s task.
Coming into this week, Kendra realized that things were getting serious now that it was down to the final six and she felt the need to stand out and be noticed. So after Trump gave the teams their new task—to design a promotional brochure for the new Pontiac Solstice—Kendra voiced her desire to be Project Manager. Tana and Craig agreed.
As soon as Kendra explained her idea, Craig didn’t seem to be on board. Kendra was absolutely correct when she later said that Craig never listened to what she was saying. She described the concept quite clearly to her teammates early on, but as soon as she finished talking and explaining the theme, Craig responded, “But I guess what we’re needing is… what’s going to be our theme?”
Despite Trump’s lesson of the week—that pulling all-nighters is sometimes necessary—Tana and Craig both checked out of the task at about 2:30 am, claiming that “bodies were not meant to stay up all night.” They both needed sleep, and felt that nothing was being accomplished overnight. So they left, and Kendra stayed up and finished the project by herself.
Kendra had mixed feelings about the task—she felt abandoned by her teammates and offended by their apparent lack of trust in her abilities, but she was also extremely proud of what she had been able to accomplish on her own. She felt that this project was her “baby”—so she felt even more betrayed when the team went in to present their idea to the Pontiac executives and Tana took over the presentation before Kendra had a chance to even open her mouth.
Ultimately though, Magna won the task. Their brochure was empirically better than Net Worth’s when it came to design, conveying emotion, and well… being interesting.
So why did Magna win? Net Worth’s brochure was terrible—dull writing, out-of-focus pictures—and Magna’s crisp, bright, and creatively designed brochure seemed outstanding by comparison. More importantly, Magna succeeded because their Project Manager was determined to pull out a win. When Tana and Craig left in the middle of the night, just about any other contestant that has ever been on this show would have probably also bailed (or at most, put together a halfhearted attempt at a finished brochure) and spent the rest of the night planning exactly how to pin the blame the others in the Boardroom when they inevitably lost. But Kendra’s response was, “If that’s what it takes to get the job done and win, then that’s what I’m going to do.” Even though she felt completely abandoned by her team, failure was not an option for Kendra. And she is the reason that Magna won this task.
It’s clear that cracks are starting to show in Magna’s seemingly solid exterior. It appears that now that we’re down to the final six, Magna has become a team of all leaders and no followers. While it’s great that the strongest people are all on one team, that also means that Kendra, Tana, and Craig are very reluctant to take direction from one another and work as a team. This was especially obvious during this week’s reward sequence, when the Knicks had the three of them run drills. They couldn’t do it, and the basketball players reminded them good-naturedly that they were supposed to be a team, and needed to work together in order to be successful. They were most definitely not a team on this particular task.
Who’s to blame for this? It’s easy to point the finger at Tana and Craig and say, “They bailed out; it’s their fault.” But I think Kendra deserves part of the blame as well. Ms. “I Can Do It All Myself” stated at the very beginning of the episode that she felt it was “time to be noticed… to stand out” and to show Trump exactly what she’s capable of. Because she felt she had so much to prove, she took complete ownership of this task. Even before Tana and Craig left for the night, I got the feeling that she had a hard time relinquishing control over any aspect of the project. She didn’t communicate well to her teammates—in an interview, she mentioned that she knew this task would be an all-nighter from the get-go, but we never saw her let her teammates in on this. It also appears that she didn’t make it clear to Tana that she wanted to be the one to present the brochure. If they had planned who would speak in advance, they could have avoided some of the awkwardness and resentment that surfaced later. In addition, Kendra seemed to feel that all three team members should be working on the same thing at the same time (photos, for example), and didn’t delegate enough or manage the team’s time and workflow properly. Tana and Craig probably felt that they weren’t contributing anything to the task, and felt justified leaving at 2:30.
That doesn’t excuse them, though. At its core, this is a job interview, and there is absolutely no excuse for bailing on the project manager when you’re up against a deadline. If they were bored or felt that they weren’t being productive, they could have calmly talked to Kendra about it instead of bailing. If they absolutely could not physically stay up all night, then they still had other options. They could have gone back to the suite in shifts, gotten a few hours of sleep each, and had at least two people working on the brochure all night. They could have left together, gotten a few hours of rest, and returned around 5 or 6 am to finish the project. Or they could have catnapped on-site like Alex did. But they left just after 2:30 am, and were still asleep when Kendra finished the project at 8:30. There’s no excuse for that.
Magna is riding high on an unparalleled winning streak. To keep it up, though, they will need to pull it together, listen to each other, respect the project manager, and communicate better with each other. Three individuals simply working on the same task does not constitute a team, and they could easily find themselves beaten by Net Worth next week if they don’t get it in gear.
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