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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart – Why Bethenny Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/22/2005
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Bethenny and Dawna were two very different people competing for the same job. Bethenny was frequently associated with the word “creative,” which would seem to go great with Martha Stewart. So then why didn’t she “fit in”? Why did Bethenny lose?
While it might seem odd at first, rest assured that a trip through What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned will fill in any gaps and explain all the answers.
One of the biggest answers lies within the very first rule, showing leadership. Bethenny was the last person on the show to take on the role of project managers. Dawna was the first, and in fact had done it twice before Bethenny did it once. Waiting until the very last possible moment to step up does not speak well for Bethenny’s leadership abilities.
When Bethenny finally took on the challenge, she lost. She won in her second task – which was also the very last challenge to have a project manager, and Bethenny had Dawna on her team for that one. Overall, she had a 1-1 record, which is about as mediocre as you can get.
But leadership isn’t only about the record. In the finale, Bethenny seemed to think she deserved kudos for doing a good job with a team made up of “disgruntled” people who didn’t really want to be there. Well gosh, why didn’t they want to be there? Why did Dawna’s team feel so much the opposite? We’ll answer part of that later, but a good portion of the answer lies in Bethenny’s leadership skills, or lack thereof. What kind of morale can she get out of a team when she couldn’t even thank them for a job well done when it was all over? Is it really any wonder they were “disgruntled”?
The second rule says to stay cool under fire. “Bethenny” and “cool,” however, don’t go together. In the finale, Bethenny admitted she was “manic” and “chaotic.” Such traits do not inspire employees to do well – indeed, such traits can really freak people out! Whether she is truly in control or not during a situation, if the perception is that she is not in control, that can lead to bigger problems. She did not provide a good impression of being in control to either her employees or her clients.
Third is to have a backbone. Bethenny seemed fine in this regard, even occasionally clashing with Jim because she wanted to stick to her ideas and he wanted to steamroll anybody in his way. This really had no effect on her not being hired.
Similarly, the fourth rule didn’t have an effect either, since Bethenny was not a schemer or a plotter.
The fifth rule, however, had a great deal to do with Bethenny not getting the job. It says to play well with others. What did Charles say when he had to summarize Bethenny near the end of the finale? He said she doesn’t play well with others. I guess he’s been reading our articles here at RNO!
Let’s look at the situation Bethenny found herself in – she couldn’t think of three people who liked her enough to fight for her in the final task! Ouch. We discussed part of the reason her employees were “disgruntled” earlier, but her overall attitude certainly played a major role. I think more fellow contestants liked Jim, and he was supposed to be the villain of the season! She simply didn’t get along very well with her peers, and that caused her problems in the end.
Moving back to things that didn’t really apply other than in ways we already discussed, we come to the sixth rule – focusing on the long-term. Bethenny did fine here, except of course that she didn’t show she could lead people in a long-term situation, like a yearlong apprenticeship.
The seventh rule is to understand the challenge. Bethenny seemed like she did well here in the final task, though she needed a kick in the butt from the circus guy before she really got moving. Still, she pulled together quite a nice event.
Eighth is to be creative. As mentioned earlier every time somebody talked about Bethenny during the finale, they used the word “creative” to describe her. It would seem that when applying for a position in a company that thrives on creativity, this would be a huge asset. And it would be – except that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is first and foremost a company. Being creative isn’t enough, a person in management must be able to, well, manage.
That actually leads us directly to the ninth rule, which advises contestants not to be one-dimensional. Bethenny exemplifies the reason for this rule. Yes, she’s creative, but Martha is not “looking for just an idea person,” as the rule notes. Bethenny needed to prove some leadership and management skills as well. She didn’t.
With that we arrive at the final rule, using common sense. We’ve already addressed a few things that fall into this category. For example, common sense says you give a hearty “thank you” to your team when all is said and done. Anybody who has seen The Apprentice knows that in the past, Trump has questioned the final helpers about the qualifications of their project manager. There was no reason for Bethenny to think Martha would be any different. While Martha apparently didn’t have a special conference room session with them, she did ask them several questions and noted herself the lack of thanks shown.
I strongly suspect that if Jim hadn’t been insane, Bethenny never would have even made it to the final task. Was she creative? Yes. But that one feature doesn’t make up for all her other problems. Bethenny did not show herself to be a good leader. She shirked project management duties until she couldn’t avoid it anymore, and then didn’t do a stellar job. On top of it, she had issues getting along well with others, which only compounded the leadership problem. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is a business that focuses on creativity – but it is first and foremost a business. As such, it needs capable leaders. Bethenny could not fill this role. That is why Bethenny lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other Apprentice: Martha Stewart finale articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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