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The Apprentice 3: A Look at the Final FourPage 2
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He has also performed well in other tasks. In the graffiti task, Craig understood that the challenge wasn't to promote a social agenda, but to sell a product, though he couldn't convince project manager Tara of that fact. And after a rough boardroom that left Audrey feeling offended and alone, Craig brought his team together to try to work things out. After that team meeting, John nominated him to be the project manager because he had the fewest personal problems with his teammates. When Audrey insisted on taking charge, Craig stepped back and agreed to let her be project manager. Audrey put him in charge of marketing, and his strategy was to undercut Magna. Though that idea wasn't nearly as good as Kendra's idea to market to people taking lessons at Chelsea Pier, it was a solid plan. In the Fuse challenge, he handled the negotiating with Tana and appeared as the on-air talent. Finally, in the American Eagle task, he solved the problem of the paint on the track jacket by covering it up with White-Out, a smart bandaid solution to a bad mistake.
Craig does have his share of issues, however. The biggest is that his coworkers have said repeatedly that he is not an effective communicator. Craig gave a speech before volunteering to be project manager in the Home Depot task, and Tana was literally unable to tell us what he meant. He wasn't able to explain to his team why he thought his box idea was a good one - he just told them to do it. It wasn't until the team saw his idea in action that they understood what he wanted to have happen. Craig has also been accused of being condescending by both Audrey and Kendra. Both women said that Craig talked down to them as if they were his kids. As Tara pointed out several weeks ago, if people keep bringing up the same issue about you, it's not them - it's you. Craig's inability to explain things without talking down to people is a real communication problem. If Craig can't communicate well and makes it to the interview stage, he's doomed.
Craig's fellow candidates seem to have a perception that he's not a hard worker. In the Pontiac task, Chris commented that there was no way Craig was going to stay up all night to get the brochure done. And it turns out he was right - Craig (along with Tana) insisted on going home to get a good night's sleep. Trump expects dedication, and that kind of behavior could hurt Craig. Craig was also the very last of the candidates to serve as project manager. Trump is looking for a leader and risk taker; someone who waits until the last minute to take charge won't impress him.
Craig's other potential Achilles heel is his conflict with Kendra. The two of them, very simply, do not get along, and it's become increasingly apparent that Craig's knee-jerk response to Kendra will be to shut her down or disagree with her. When they were choosing pizza toppings, Kendra said, innocently, "Everybody likes pepperoni." He chided her to "avoid generalities." We all know that Kendra doesn't believe that literally all of the people of the earth like pepperoni pizza; she just meant that it's a popular topping. Yet Craig seemed to really want to put her in her place. He did the same thing when Kendra said that offices tend to use file folders when they were designing their organizer in the Staples task. Yes, I'm sure there are offices in the world with no file folders, but they are prevalent enough such that they should be considered in the design. And in the Pontiac task, although Kendra explained that they'd be showing a different emotion on each page, Craig repeatedly said that the brochure didn't have a theme. He's not a dumb guy, so I can only imagine that he simply wasn't listening to Kendra because he doesn't respect her. Finally, in the Staples task, when the team was brainstorming, Kendra said that she'd like to have focus groups. Craig shut her down, saying to write it down instead of talking out loud.
The Craig-Kendra conflict is starting to reach "this town ain't big enough for both of us" proportions, and I think that if it continues to escalate, Kendra will be the one to come out on top. While she clearly doesn't like or respect Craig (just as he feels about her), she seems more able to put their differences aside to focus on the task at hand.
Original team: Book Smarts
Last job: Real Estate Broker
Record as PM: Two wins (Fuse, Pontiac)
Trips to the boardroom: None
Kendra is a favorite candidate among my readers, and indeed, when she's good, she is very, very good. She was in charge of marketing in the mini golf task and did an outstanding job. Kendra came up with the idea of marketing to kids taking lessons at Chelsea Pier. That was a good plan in and of itself, but she took it one step further and and negotiated exclusivity for Magna, effectively shutting out Net Worth. Her team won, and it was apparent that Kendra's marketing was a big part of that, since many of the customers who came to their mini golf course had Kendra's coupons with her.
Kendra's team also won big in the Fuse task. She was in charge of the new Magna, with Tana and Craig added to the team. Because she didn't know the two of them well yet, she went with them to meet the first artists to see what kind of negotiating they could do - very smart. When she saw that Tana and Craig were doing well, she left them to do their job. Even then, she didn't drop the ball completely, and asked the two of them to check in with her and run their ideas past her.
Marketing seems to be a real strength for Kendra. She and Tana sold large orders to businesses in the Domino's task, an idea that paid off in a win. She also teamed up with Tana to poll customers in the American Eagle, Staples, and Pontiac tasks. Kendra clearly understands how important it is to get in the mind of the customer, and given her team's success in those tasks, is good at it.
Kendra impressed viewers most of all with her performance in the Pontiac task. While teammates Tana and Craig slept, Kendra stayed up all night and put together a spectacular brochure that wowed the Pontiac execs so much that they decided to produce it. It was a huge win, and she pulled it off almost single-handedly. She wanted to win, and she did whatever it took to make it happen.
However, in the Pontiac task, Kendra also showed signs of weakness. She wasn't able to convince her team of the importance - and necessity - of pulling an all nighter, so she wound up doing all of the work herself. It paid off in the short term, but over the long run, it shows a lack of leadership. If it really was necessary to stay up all night to get the job done, Kendra should have done a better job of convincing Tana and Craig to do it.
The most interesting thing about Kendra is that she's had a strategy since the beginning that, so far, seems to be working. She explained that she made the decision to sit back, stay out of the limelight, and let the weaker candidates get fired before she made her move. And stay out of the limelight she did - until the golf task, the only thing we really saw Kendra do was stand up for Danny in the first task, saying Todd should be fired for not being able to control Danny. She was also the last member of Magna to serve as project manager. Kendra has not been to the boardroom a single time. Will her under the radar strategy pay off? It's hard to say, since no one has tried it before. She definitely kept herself safe so far, and there's no disputing how well she did when she decided it was time to shine. But does Trump want to hire someone who would take such a conservative strategy? Will she come across as avoiding risks? Is the winner of The Apprentice really going to be someone who decided to lay low for so many weeks?<--Previous 1 2 3 Next-->
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