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Apprentice 3, Analysis of the Final Task: Into the Stretchby Angela Dalecki -- 05/18/2005
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After an interminably long season which originally pitched “Book Smarts” candidates (college graduates) against “Street Smarts” candidates (candidates with only a high school diploma, but who were successful in other ways), two candidates are left standing at the end: Book Smarts candidate Kendra, and Street Smarts candidate Tana. (Finally, we are guaranteed to see a female winner.) Both women have performed strongly in the past, succeeding as both team members and as Project Managers.
For the final task, each finalist was put in charge of running a large event. Kendra was assigned to head up the Best Buy Video Game Tournament, and Tana was delegated to run an NYC 2012 Olympic event. Both candidates were given three members from their original teams to work with—team members who were notoriously difficult to work with. Tana got Brian, Kristen, and Chris; Kendra got Danny, Michael, and Erin. How did they do on this very important final task? Let’s start with Tana and her team first.
Tana… wow, I don’t even know where to start. I haven’t seen a successful contender unravel this quickly since John (who was my early pick to win it all before he became all chauvinistic). To begin with—and this may very well have been her biggest mistake—she had absolutely zero respect for her team. Granted, she didn’t exactly get the cream of the crop (Chris has anger management issues; Kristen and Brian are extremely antagonistic and rude), but she didn’t even try to treat them like human beings worthy of her respect. She’d be this weird mix of saccharine-sweet and condescending to their faces, then whine about them to the cameras (and anyone within earshot) the second their backs were turned. In at least one case, we saw her complain about Chris in front of him to a sponsor (and in front of Carolyn, too). Not the smartest move.
That actually brings us to her second mistake—being too familiar with Carolyn. Tana made the same mistake Erin did earlier in the season, by assuming that Trump/George/Carolyn were her “buddies,” and being too loose around them. Tana complained about her team several times to Carolyn, and made snippy underhanded remarks in front of Carolyn and sponsors even more often. I can’t fathom how it never crossed her mind that Carolyn might find that inappropriate, and worse, bring it up in the Boardroom as a reason for Trump to not hire Tana.
Tana’s disregard for her teammates hurt her in other ways, too. On one hand, she didn’t trust them enough to delegate much of the event tasks to her team, taking it upon herself to handle everything. The result was that she quickly became swamped and found herself pulled in a million different directions to put out a bunch of little fires—while Governor Pataki went ungreeted and without an American flag. On the other hand—and this part I really can’t wrap my head around, given her stated lack of faith in her teammates—she delegated the entire task of creating the program brochure to Kristen. She didn’t even feel the need to read the finished brochure before it went to the printers—she just assumed it would be fine. I don’t understand that at all. Tana, at that point, had done nothing but whine and moan about how incompetent her team was, and then she just hands over total responsibility for something as important as that program (which included athlete bios and an itinerary) and didn’t even bother to check it over before sending it off to the printers? “Poor judgment” doesn’t even begin to describe what a stupid decision that was.
Tana, overall, came off as a professional disaster. She was disorganized, “demeaningful” (sorry, Audrey) to her teammates, two-faced, and practically delusional. After forcing Governor Pataki to wait around, whining about her team to anyone who would listen, and having a major gaffe like missing an American flag (when 100 other countries were represented), she still walked around saying things like, “You’re looking at the next Apprentice,” and, “I got this job.” The event still went fine, but it was clear that no one was really thrilled with Tana’s performance.
Kendra, on the other hand, did a phenomenal job. After the initial screw-up of leaving Danny alone with the Best Buy executives, she pulled her team together and ran a successful event. She knew that her biggest priority was to make the major sponsors happy, and she did everything within her power to achieve that. She inspired her team to work together, and the whole thing went off without a hitch. I actually don’t have much more to say about her—we didn’t see a single mistake on her part this week. Kendra did a phenomenal job—she even got a job offer from one of the sponsors at the event.
Next week, Trump will turn to the six returning employees to find out what they thought of their leaders. I can only imagine that this won’t be good for Tana. I doubt any of her teammates will have anything good to say about her, given the horrible way she treated them. Kendra’s team, though, seemed to love her. Then we’ll go live as Trump reveals his pick for his newest hire. And at this point, I have to say that Kendra has got this thing in the bag. Tana came off as so incompetent and unlikable this week that Trump would be showing a real error in judgment if he picked her. Am I right? We’ll find out very soon.
Angela Dalecki is a part-time freelance writer based in Wilmington, DE. Her work can also be seen at Nights & Weekends and Suite 101. She pays her bills by working at TV Guide. You can email Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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