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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart – Why Marcela Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/14/2005
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Marcela was not exactly one of the strongest players this season. Her teams – whether she was project manager or not – lost frequently and she wore a path to the Conference Room. But each time she was there, she walked out. Before the Song challenge, it seemed obvious that if her team lost again, she would be going home. But that loss was so obviously Ryan’s fault, it appeared she might survive once again. Why did she still get sent home? Why did Marcela lose?
In Marcela’s case, we especially need to look not just at the most recent challenge, but at some of her history as well. That said, we’ll still do it by looking back at What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned to find our answers.
The first rule is to show leadership. Let’s be honest: If I were looking for a leader to hire, Marcela would never make the list. She is fairly timid, does not command respect or inspire confidence, and, well, she lost twice as project manager – to Jim of all people. We saw how Marcela’s own team treated her the second time she tried to lead them. Amanda and Ryan essentially rebelled. While it was wrong for them to do it and Amanda was rightfully fired, some of the blame must rest on Marcela. Indeed, if it had been Trump’s version, she might have been fired for failure to control her teammates.
In addition to being a poor project manager, Marcela did not take many opportunities to lead during other tasks. Let’s look at just her final task, for example. There were only two people on the team, so it would make sense that Marcela would step up and ask to be a major part of the decision-making. Nope. She mostly sat back and let Ryan make whatever decisions he wanted, even when she knew they were horrible. Over and over she just repeated variants of, “He’s the project manager.” While she wondered if Ryan relaxed on this task because he figured she’d get fired, I have to wonder if she relaxed because she figured if Ryan messed up enough, she might be safe yet again.
The second rule tells applicants to stay cool under fire. Marcela did well in the Conference Room – Lord knows she had enough experience there. For example, when Martha Stewart was asking Marcela and Amanda what they would each envision themselves doing for the company, Amanda blathered meaningless gibberish while Marcela had a clear vision – a clear vision that might have been just enough to keep her around for another week. She knew she was under pressure and she came through.
On the tasks, though, Marcela didn’t stand up quite as well. When she was project manager in the task just before the aforementioned Conference Room visit, Amanda and Ryan essentially quit on her. This was the kind of stress that shows who is a leader and who isn’t. Marcela failed to whip them into shape and force her team into action.
Why is that? Because Marcela didn’t do well in the third rule, having a backbone. While she did eventually stand up for her idea in that particular challenge, it was not exactly in a powerful manner. And what about her final challenge? As I already noted, she would tell Ryan he was wrong, he would blow her off, she would go along with it. That is not standing up for herself. Admittedly, it’s more difficult when there are only two people, but she needed to push back hard when she saw the stupid moves Ryan had made. She didn’t. Instead she just sighed and let him do what he wanted to do.
The fourth rule cautions players that scheming and plotting don’t usually work. In this case, I do think some of Marcela’s actions were the result of her attempting to let Ryan shoot himself in the foot. By letting him make all the wrong decisions, she knew if they lost she could go to the Conference Room and say, “He did it!” But at some point, Martha & Co. are going to get sick of seeing the same person come back as a loser. Marcela was there half a dozen times or so. Enough was enough.
Fifth is to play well with others. Marcela didn’t really have a problem here, other than when her teammates didn’t respect her – but again, that was more a leadership problem than a personality problem.
Did Marcela follow the sixth rule by focusing on the long-term? I would say yes. She knew what she wanted out of this “job interview,” and she let Martha know as well. I think she tried to work in areas that best showcased her specialties. But, skipping ahead to the ninth rule, Martha isn’t looking for somebody with such a specific area of interest. Marcela was essentially one-dimensional.
Going back to the seventh rule and looking at this particular challenge, did Marcela understand it? I think she did, especially after talking to the Song executives. However, she failed to convince Ryan to do what she knew was right, so it really didn’t matter.
The eighth rule says to be creative but not insane. Once again, I think she knew Ryan had gone over the top in their final challenge, but she didn’t do anything to stop him.
Since we already addressed the ninth rule, we’ll now move to the tenth, which says to use common sense. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but common sense should have told both Ryan and Marcela not to do the commercial in the manner they did. It seemed that Marcela had that common sense, but she needed to beat some sense into Ryan (metaphorically, of course).
A lot of what we’ve discussed here seems to go back to the fact that Ryan really screwed up. It may even seem like I’m blaming Marcela for that. In some ways, I am. She was one-half of the team and should not have simply sat back and said, “Ryan’s the project manager.” Maybe if this had been earlier in the competition, she would have gotten away with it. But as bad as Ryan was in this task, Marcela has shown throughout that she simply is not what Martha Stewart is looking for. She is one-dimensional and a poor leader. That is why Marcela lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Apprentice: Martha Stewart Episode 11 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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