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The Apprentice 4: Why Marshawn Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/17/2005
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For a while, Marshawn looked like a sure thing to be in the final four – maybe even better. But suddenly, it seems she decided to self-destruct. It’s not entirely clear what possessed her to make some of her decisions, but we can certainly look at those decisions to see why Marshawn lost.
We will do so by comparing Marshawn’s decisions and actions (or inactions) to What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned. Let’s see what we can learn.
The first rule tells Marshawn that she should have shown leadership. While she was not the project manager in this task, it is clear that there are other ways to lead. Marshawn could have helped out more in designing the sales area. She could have made sure they got to the meeting with Lucasfilm and Best Buy executives on time. Or hey, here’s an idea, she could have done the presentation! Wow, that would have been great!
Hold on a second. Marshawn was going to make the presentation. What happened? She suddenly decided she didn’t want to do it, then acted like a petulant child when project manager Brian tried to make her stick by her job. What the hell was that? Sometimes I wish project managers could fire people on the spot and not have to wait for Trump to do it – because I simply can’t see somebody behaving like this in a real work situation. If it had happened to me, I would have been furious.
But something happened in Marshawn’s mind that made her react this way. Frankly, I believe it was a violation of the second rule, staying cool under fire. Mind you, there was no fire yet, but in Marshawn’s apparent paranoia, she seemed to think Brian was out to get her. The smart thing to do would have been to give the best presentation ever, so nobody could in any way blame her. But instead, she cracked. She simply refused to do it.
I suppose we could give her some credit for having a backbone about it and sticking to her guns, but I simply cannot pat somebody on the back for making an obviously bad decision and standing by it. Wrong time to make a stand, Marshawn.
As mentioned above, it seems Marshawn believed people were plotting against her. If she understood the fourth rule, she would have known that doesn’t usually work. Ironically, she created a self-fulfilling situation. Her teammates were not targeting her until she backed out of the presentation. Then she gave them a reason to target her (a damned good one, I might add). She therefore created the very situation she was trying to avoid.
Similarly, Marshawn had played well with others – until this critical moment. When she suddenly decided to have a tantrum and refuse to do her job, her standing with her teammates plummeted.
And her standing with Trump did as well. Not only was backing out a poor decision for this particular challenge, but it was a horrible decision for the long-term as well – thus violating the sixth rule. Even if Marshawn’s team had somehow won, her decision to back out would have certainly come up at some point. And even if Brian had been the only one fired due to his mismanagement, Marshawn should not have thought for a minute that her behavior here wouldn’t stick with Trump.
But that was not the only area in which Marshawn failed. Like Brian, Marshawn did not truly understand the point of the challenge. At one point she pushed for having a virtually unknown character in their sales area because she thought he looked interesting and would draw people in. Wrong, wrong, wrong! People aren’t drawn in by characters they don’t know! Star Wars fans expect to see recognizable Star Wars characters, not somebody that makes them say, “Huh?” Marshawn was totally clueless in that regard.
While Brian can be blamed for many of the problems with this task, including a decided lack of creativity, we saw nothing that indicated Marshawn helped at all. Indeed, she even mentioned that giving the presentation would be about her only contribution. Why? Did she feel her lack of Star Wars knowledge hampered her too much? It sure didn’t stop her from the dumb suggestion mentioned above. But Marshawn should have helped more from the beginning, rather than just waiting until the end to present – and then not even doing that.
Perhaps Marshawn was worried about appearing one-dimensional, as just being the good presenter. I suppose that could have been a concern, except the way to handle it was not to back out of doing even that one task. Besides, I really don’t think that was her problem – though a failure to show Trump that she could be versatile certainly was.
Finally, we have tenth rule, which implores applicants to use their common sense. However, it often appears that common sense is decidedly uncommon for some candidates. Marshawn was one of them. Nobody with an ounce of common sense should have pulled the stunt that she did. It’s just that simple. As Bill Rancic said in the Boardroom, she should have been trying to dazzle Trump, not hide.
A wise Jedi once said that a person should do or do not, there is no try. Unfortunately, he didn’t know about Marshawn. She chose the “do not” option when it came to the presentation. But truly, she should have at least tried. If she had done so, Brian would have been fired for his poor decision-making and Marshawn would have been around for at least one more week. By choosing the “do not” route, she opened herself up to a world of valid criticism, and all of it stuck. That is why Marshawn lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other Apprentice 4 Episode 8 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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