Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
The Apprentice 4: Why Josh Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/31/2005
View Printable version of this article
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover this week, thanks to Donald Trump’s wonderful idea of firing four people. It makes sense to start with the man most responsible, project manager Josh. What went so very very wrong? Why did his team do so poorly? Why did Josh lose?
Even in a week with four firings at once, we will hold true to the task of looking back at What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned. As I said, Josh was most responsible for the loss and thus deserved firing the most – let’s find out why.
The first and most important rule tells applicants to show leadership. Here is where I have my first big problem with Josh – and indeed with Donald Trump as well. Let’s start with the former.
Josh admitted to Mark in a discussion before the Boardroom that the whole team was rowing together but they might not have been going in the right direction or even using the right type of boat. Might?!
Josh didn’t take responsibility for the fact that he was the captain of the boat. If it was the wrong boat, he takes a good chunk of the blame. If they were rowing in the wrong direction, he takes a good chunk of the blame. Josh led his team down the wrong path.
I think that path began when they decided on where they would focus – baseball. Yes, James likes baseball. It’s the great American game, after all. But this was a task about selling and baseball was the wrong sport to choose. We’ll go into that more in our discussion of the seventh rule.
Once the ideas were put into action, Josh did what too many Apprentice candidates seem to be doing these days – he handed out jobs and sat back, ready to blame others for their failure. For example, let’s all laugh at Jennifer not selling any radar guns even though she said she could sell them all. That’s great, but it won’t help win the task.
Josh should have been supervising on the floor. If he saw that Jennifer was hawking hot dogs instead of selling bats, he should have pulled her off the task and switched what she was doing. If he believed that Mark would have been better off selling rather than plunking baseballs into a machine, he should have switched him out. If James should have been closing deals instead of giving batting tips, he should have been told to do that. Thus my earlier comments about how Josh is the one who most deserved to be fired. Put simply, his leadership, such as it was, was pathetic.
However, Josh did well in terms of the second rule, staying cool under fire. He knew he was in trouble heading into the Boardroom, and he knew what he planned to do – blame Jennifer. When the Boardroom questioning came, that’s what he did, and he stayed calm and rational while doing it. Unfortunately for him, that wasn’t enough.
The third rule says to have a backbone. This didn’t really come up during the task, as people were not arguing with Josh much about the plans. Maybe they should have done more of it! In the Boardroom, Josh certainly stood up for himself well. But again, it wasn’t enough to overcome his leadership failure.
Josh showed us once again why the fourth rule holds true: Scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. He planned with Mark to hold Jennifer accountable and told Mark he had nothing to worry about. Mark was the smart one, noting he was still worried.
Planning to target Jennifer was probably Josh’s best move – really, his only move other than essentially throwing himself on his sword. But all the scheming in the world wasn’t going to get him out of this one. Unfortunately, Mark became collateral damage.
Josh didn’t seem to have any problems with the fifth rule, which says to play well with others. Even the sixth rule, about thinking long-term, didn’t really play a role here for Josh. Indeed, Josh could have used a dose of good short-term thinking to get him through this task!
That brings us to the seventh rule. I promised you earlier that I’d discuss one reason Josh and his team went so wrong, and now is the time. It all began with the selection of baseball as their focus. Yes, baseball is a great sport – kids love it, parents love it. Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie. But there is only so much you can sell for baseball, and this was a selling task.1 2 Next-->
View Printable version of this article