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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart – Why Carrie Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/09/2005
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Carrie was Sarah’s second in command. She felt it was her job to make Sarah look good – and she really blew that plan. In fact, the two of them together were so bad that both of them were fired. We’ve already discuss Why Sarah Lost, so now it’s time to ask the same questions about Carrie. What did she do wrong? Did she do anything right? Why did Carrie lose?
Whether there is one person fired (as usual), four (as Trump did a couple weeks ago), or two (as Martha did this week), we handle each the same way. So let’s look back at What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned to examine Carrie’s actions and inaction.
The first rule is to show leadership. Carrie was the project manager back during the flower challenge and did an okay job. At first she didn’t want to change the prices but eventually was persuaded by Howie to do so – allowing her team to win the task.
Unfortunately, other than that challenge, Carrie has often been a non-entity. And that certainly was the case in her final task. Carrie tried to take a leadership role in the Tide to Go challenge even though she wasn’t project manager. She was the second in command and should have played a major role in ensuring the success of her team. Instead, she played a major role in ensuring their failure.
There were several good examples of her bad behavior. First, she supported Sarah’s horrible idea of “silent brainstorming” (as I discussed in “Why Sarah Lost,” this is actually an oxymoron). Then she knocked out Howie’s idea of using boxing glove props to show Tide to Go knocking out stains. Yeah, that would have been a terrible idea, wouldn’t it? Whenever she came to a fork in the road to success, she chose the absolutely incorrect one and helped persuade Sarah to take it.
What’s perhaps even worse is that when she wasn’t giving Sarah bad advice, she was doing… nothing. OK, technically she was punching numbers into the computer or looking for her pen or something, but she did nothing to contribute to this task. Apparently, this was not uncommon for her.
I suppose we could at least say Carrie followed the second rule and stayed cool under fire. But as we discussed with Sarah, this did not appear to be by design and certainly did not actually help matters. With two so-called leaders on this task, you’d think one of them would have gotten a bit more agitated about the fact that they had no ideas. Nope.
Similarly, Carrie had a backbone. She was very decisive in shooting down good ideas. She did not let anybody else push her around, even if it would have meant the team might have actually had a chance at winning. Again, Carrie turned what should have been a positive into a negative.
The fourth rule tells applicants that scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. Carrie thought she could use her “alliance” with Sarah to her advantage by making Sarah think she’d support her in the Conference Room but then turning around and telling viewers that Sarah was on her own. If this had been a situation where only one person could be sent home, it might have worked. But people keep forgetting the twists and turns involved in Apprentice shows – Martha Stewart saw right through Carrie and fired ‘em both.
Fifth is to play well with others. Carrie seemed fine in that regard – she certainly is no Jim. But in this case it didn’t matter. She did so little that even if everybody had loved her they would have had to admit that she was useless.
Which brings us to the sixth rule, discussing how players should focus on the long-term. Carrie clearly was not. Even she admitted in the Conference Room that she did the accounting because it was a “no-brainer” for her to do the numbers. Martha Stewart countered that she’s not hiring a comptroller, which pretty much proves the point of this rule. Carrie should have been doing something to prove her ability in the creative and leadership arenas, not the “no-brainer” area of putting numbers in a spreadsheet. Win or lose, creativity and leadership are the keys. Carrie completely missed that point.
She completely missed the point of the challenge as well, which was branding. She supported Sarah’s unbelievably bad idea to ignore the actual product about which they were supposed to be creating a buzz! This was not a difficult concept, and not one that just accidentally got away from them. Several team members understood it, but the team leaders did not.
After failing in the seventh rule as just described, Carrie went for broke with the eighth as well. It says to be creative. But unless she was being creative with those numbers in her spreadsheet, Carrie simply missed that point.
Not to harp on it (okay, we’ll harp on it a little), but Carrie failed to understand the ninth rule as well, which says you can’t be one-dimensional. As I’ve already noted, Martha specifically told Carrie in the Conference Room that she isn’t looking for a comptroller. This shouldn’t be news to anybody who has ever watched an Apprentice series. Leadership, not the ability to crank out a few numbers, is the key to winning the job.
Which finally brings us to the rule saying people need to use common sense. Carrie was decidedly missing this point as well as so many of the others. First, she thought it was her idea to make her boss look good. I suppose it’s an okay idea in theory, but really her goal should have been to make her boss look good by ensuring they win the task. Sometimes, that means contradicting the boss, or at least giving some decent advice. Carrie failed outright in her goal and in using common sense.
The next failure of common sense takes us back into familiar territory. If you’re trying to create buzz about a product, it only makes sense to base your plan around said product. But like Sarah, Carrie wasn’t interested in that. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
What makes this all even worse is that according to Carrie’s bio on the official website, she owns a company “specializing in public relations, creative marketing, event planning and media project management.” After watching this fiasco, who on Earth would want to hire her to do public relations or creative marketing?! She, of all people, should have known better.
Martha’s advisor, Charles, said that Carrie played hide and seek. When there was work to do, she hid. When Charles or Alexis was around, Carrie sought them out. It’s an old trick used by employees who would rather brown-nose their way to the top instead of working their way there. Maybe it works sometimes, but it’s not going to work here.
Carrie wanted to be second in command, but didn’t actually appear to want to do any work. The advice she gave was bad. The impact she had on the challenge ranged from zero to negative at any given time. She not only failed to make her boss look good, but she made both her boss and herself look absolutely worthless. That is why Carrie lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Apprentice: Martha Stewart Episode 7 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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