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The Apprentice 4: Why Melissa Lostby David Bloomberg -- 09/29/2005
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As it was on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart this week, the first person to be fired by Donald this season was obvious approximately five minutes into the challenge. While Project Manager Kristi certainly did not impress anybody, Melissa managed to make herself stand out enough in a negative way to take the attention off of her. What did Melissa do wrong? Did she do anything right? Why did Melissa lose?
As we have done for several seasons now, we will answer all of these questions by looking back at What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned. This will guide us down the path to make sure we have all the reasons Melissa was fired.
The first rule, as always, is to show leadership. As far as I could tell, Melissa only showed this characteristic in a few areas, namely complaining and being loud. However, that is not quite what Trump is looking for in terms of leadership.
While Melissa did not show any particular leadership, one reason she was fired is that Kristi did. Kristi knew that it was smart to volunteer to manage the first project. Because she stepped up, Trump likely gave her more leeway. This left Melissa on shakier ground.
Melissa talked a lot about how she was supposedly doing things or could have done things better. She complained that they should have been focusing on people in the club rather than on the street, yet we never saw her suggest it to the team or Project Manager. She complained to Carolyn that Kristi was a terrible Project Manager. She complained to Carolyn that she was doing everything – and then had to admit that wasn’t exactly the case. Like I said, Melissa was a leader in complaining, but that’s about it.
The second rule says to stay cool under fire. Considering all the whining that was going on, I think it’s safe to say that Melissa failed here as well. Whenever stress reared its ugly head, Melissa’s ugly attitude did the same.
Then, in the Boardroom, Melissa should have been prepared for Kristi pointing the finger at her and been able to calmly explain why Kristi was wrong. But “calm” didn’t appear to be in Melissa’s dictionary. She wouldn’t listen but instead went on the attack – which was a rather stupid thing to do considering that the other women were making the point that she never listened and just went on the attack!
Melissa even tried to use her violation of this rule as justification for staying, claiming that she let Kristi get under her skin but it would never happen again. What utter baloney. And then she followed it up by saying all women hate her and are intimidated by her. If all women hate her, how could Trump believe that she wouldn’t fight with them anymore? Incidentally, I have no trouble believing the first part of her statement – it’s the second part that is highly in doubt.
Third is to have a backbone. Well, no problem there – Melissa certainly knew how to stand up for herself, perhaps a little too well. She stood up for her beliefs during the task, saying they were charging too much. She stood up for herself in the Boardroom. She just went about both things entirely the wrong way.
The fourth rule tells players that scheming and plotting don’t usually work – and Melissa was a prime example. As already discussed, Melissa complained to Carolyn, I suppose as an effort to plant the seed in Carolyn’s mind that Kristi was terrible and should be fired if they lost. Then, she tried to get some of the other women to join her in her anti-Kristi campaign. They didn’t buy it – to the point that when Kristi asked Alla if she should be scheming too, Alla told her not to worry about it.
The fifth rule coincides somewhat with the Trump Lesson of the Week. Trump said that in business, it’s important to get alone with everyone. The rule says to play well with others. I think he’s stealing my material!
No matter where the suggestion came from, it’s good advice. It would have been especially good advice for Melissa to heed, but she wasn’t interested in that. Her whole team wanted her gone. She couldn’t get along with anybody. Trump even cited that fact just before firing her. Sometimes the “villains” of the show have made it a few weeks based on the actions of others. Melissa didn’t make it past Episode 1.
Sixth is to focus on the long term. Let me just say this: HA! Well, okay, that isn’t all I’m going to say. But Melissa certainly did not have in mind any thought of going further. Or if she did, she simply had no idea how to go about it. Here’s a hint: Annoying your entire team is not a good way to stick around for a good long while.
Seventh is the new rule to understand the challenge. While Kristi took her team in the direction of focusing on non-members, the guys went for the people who were already in the gym. Since they were extremely close, it’s hard to say one was better than the other, though I tend to think a combined effort would have been best. But no matter what, Melissa showed that she did not understand the challenge at all.
The idea was to get the most money from selling their particular class. But Melissa was complaining that she is Hispanic, as were most of the gym members, and therefore she knew what they would pay and what would upset them. The main point she kept making, from what I could tell in her ranting and raving, was that people would be pissed after the class. In the real business world, that would be an issue. But here, it’s a one-time shot. Yes, this conflicts somewhat with thinking for the long term, but in this case the point of the challenge had to take precedence. Melissa refused to comprehend that.
The eighth rule says to be creative, but not insane. Unfortunately, the whole women’s team rather lacked creativity, since the best thing they could come up with for advertising was flyers. Woohoo, nobody has ever done flyers before! That surely impressed Trump! But seriously, once again Melissa criticized but didn’t appear to have a better idea.
Ninth is to not be one-dimensional. Melissa, however, showed no dimensions as far as being a good businessperson. A good whiner, yes, but once again, that isn’t what Trump is looking for.
Finally we have the tenth rule, which says to use common sense. I don’t know where to begin with Melissa. Many of the things we’ve already mentioned also fall into the category of common sense. For example, her extreme negativity certainly was not just noticed by her cohorts, but likely by potential customers as well. Since they lost by a very slim margin, Alla and Kristi were right to suggest that if Melissa had been more of a team player, they might have won.
Another example was her claim that all women hate her – while Carolyn was sitting in the room and part of the decision-making process! How much common sense do you need to not say something that stupid? Apparently, more than Melissa had. The list goes on, but we won’t.
Because by now we’ve already addressed the reasons Melissa was fired. Melissa could not – or would not – get along with her own teammates. She blamed this failure on everybody but herself. In addition, she failed to understand the point of the task, failed to take on any sort of leadership role – but was ready and willing to criticize those who did – and tried to scheme and plot. Doing all of these things and being unable to interact in any sort of positive way with others fully explains why Melissa lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Apprentice 4 Episode 1 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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