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The Apprentice 3: Why Alex Lostby David Bloomberg -- 04/29/2005
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Alex was on a long losing streak and really needed to do something to bedazzle, er, dazzle Donald Trump. Losing again wasn’t exactly the ticket. Still, Tana failed to do the marketing, Tana took the trip to Staten Island. Why then did Alex lose?
This question is one that we seek to answer every week, and we do so by looking back at What ‘Apprentice 3’ Applicants Should Have Learned. This week is no exception, and it will help us to better understand why Tana is going through while Alex is going home.
The first and most important rule is to show leadership. Alex was Project Manager three times and lost twice. Tana was also Project Manager three times, but she only lost once – this time. And even when Alex won, in the graffiti challenge, he was helped by the opposing Project Manager, Tara, pretty much ignoring the whole point of the task! Tana, on the other hand, only lost when she was teamed with Alex.
But there is also another part of leadership – you don’t need to be the Project Manager to take on a leadership role. During this task, though, Alex didn’t seem interested in doing that. He was much more interested in sitting back and making note of everything Tana did wrong so he could use it against her later.
Alex knew that marketing was an issue. Even if Tana didn’t understand that, it was his responsibility to make sure he got that across to her. Yes, this is a competition, but it’s also a job interview. Trump doesn’t want somebody who would see that something is wrong but ignore the problem.
I’m going to give an example from my own work life that actually just happened this week. I had been told by the head honcho in my area that she was putting me in charge of a specific project that had dragged on for a while. Then she went on vacation without actually telling anybody else. I couldn’t do anything until the announcement was made because of the personalities involved. When she got back, though, I had two choices: I could have ignored the fact that she had told me this and just waited for her to eventually make the announcement. After all, I have plenty of other work to do, I don’t need more. And if nothing got done in the meantime, well, nobody could blame me because I wasn’t officially in charge. Or I could have marched into her office and reminded her that she needed to let people know so we could get moving. I did the latter, and I would certainly hope that anybody else would as well. Alex, however, acted like the type who would do the former – sit back and wait while having an excuse at the ready. That is not leadership.
Moving on, the second rule says to stay cool under fire. Alex certainly had no problems there, either on tasks or in the Boardroom. Especially in the Boardroom, Alex remained calm and collected, never drawing too much attention to himself while at the same time lobbing grenades at other people. Indeed, it almost worked again this time, until Tana finally figured out the key to fighting Alex: His record.
The third rule says to have a backbone. In the Boardroom, as we’ve discussed, Alex had no problem standing up for himself. But in tasks – especially this last one – he didn’t always do all he could. As already mentioned, if Alex thought marketing was important, he should have stood up and said so forcefully. If he thought a trip to Staten Island was stupid, he should have stood up and said so – we didn’t see him say anything against it at all. Indeed, did it really take both of them to go? Alex didn’t need to be there. He should have said as much and stayed behind to work on other things – things like, oh I dunno… marketing!
At first it might seem like the fourth rule no longer comes into play because there is really nobody left to scheme and plot against and all the cards are pretty well on the table. However, Alex schemed in a different way by keeping mental notes of what Tana was doing wrong and holding onto them for later use. But as we’ve seen, that type of plotting doesn’t generally work, and Trump turned the table on Alex, accusing him of hanging back for just that reason. Whoops!
The fifth rule, that contestants need to play well with others, didn’t apply in this particular situation. So we’ll move on.1 2 Next-->
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