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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart – Why Sarah Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/08/2005
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Last week, in Episode 7 of Martha’s Apprentice, the competition was no contest. There was never a doubt as to which team would lose, and really never a doubt that the project manager – Sarah – would be fired. The only happy surprise was that Carrie was fired along with her, but that’s a topic for another article. Today we look at Sarah. Why was her performance so bad that it was obvious she would be going? What could she have done differently? Why did Sarah lose?
I’m pretty sure that Mark Burnett, producer of Survivor and Apprentice, is trying to kill me. First he does a double Tribal Council on Survivor, then a quadruple firing on Trump’s show, and now another double for Martha. No matter, we’ve made it this far doing columns covering why each person lost, so we’re going to ride it out all the way to the end! That means, of course, looking back at What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see what kind of answers we can come up with regarding poor clueless Sarah.
The first rule tells applicants they need to show leadership. And thus we quickly come upon Sarah’s first failing. This rule specifically says things like, “When you are the Project Manager, by all means be the manager.” Sarah didn’t show that she could manage herself out of a wet paper bag. She showed zero leadership, came up with no ideas, created an atmosphere that made it impossible for anybody else to put forth ideas, and then claimed the loss was not her fault.
After the dismal failure, Sarah’s teammates pegged the cause of the problem. They said she was clueless, without direction, paralyzed, and weak. That about sums it up. Heck, even Sarah’s sidekick Carrie was forced to admit that Sarah was a poor leader!
That said, Sarah definitely followed the second rule and stayed cool under fire. She even congratulated herself for it in the wee morning hours before the task, talking about how calm she was. Yes, the calm before the storm… of criticism.
The problem is that there was absolutely nothing for Sarah to get worked up about – because there was absolutely nothing. She didn’t have to worry about teammates criticizing her ideas, because she had none. Whenever anybody would make a suggestion, she didn’t let it bother her – she just dismissed it out of hand.
Even in the Conference Room, Sarah remained calm while trying to push the blame elsewhere, despite the fact that it was obvious to blind monkeys in Guatemala that she was the responsible party. I’d say her ability to stay cool under such conditions was admirable – if I thought she was doing it on purpose. I actually think she was just so completely clueless that she didn’t realize she should have been worrying! Thus, following this rule was neither intentional nor exactly a plus for her.
The third rule says to have a backbone. I suppose, in an upside-down inside-out way, Sarah did show a backbone in this challenge. No matter how hard Jim and others pressed her to actually include the product in their promo, she wanted none of it. No matter what ideas were presented, she shot them down. She definitely showed who was in charge – which made it that much easier to decide who should be fired.
Fourth is a reminder that scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. In this case, Sarah and Carrie assured each other they had the other’s back. Except then Carrie turned around and told us that Sarah was on her own in the Conference Room. And it didn’t really matter because both of them were fired! Thus the reason it doesn’t work – you just never know what might happen.
Another reason it doesn’t work is because that type of scheming can often be countered. When Sarah tried to claim that everybody on the team has said Howie doesn’t contribute, she was trying a scam to push attention elsewhere. But Bethenny didn’t let her get away with it, flat-out calling it dishonest and desperate.
Which leads us to the fifth rule, noting that contestants should play well with others. In the case just mentioned, Sarah was already up a creek without a paddle when she tried to manipulate the outcome by blaming Howie. But it certainly didn’t make the others want to help her out! Other than that, Sarah seemed easy enough to get along with.1 2 Next-->
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