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The Apprentice 5: Why Summer Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/03/2006
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Summer came into the first Apprentice 5 challenge in a great position – she is a small business owner with a Sam’s Club membership who should have understood how to sell the product. Unfortunately, every obstacle she faced caused her problems; rather than overcoming them, she stumbled and fell each time. What happened to send Summer home first? Why did Summer lose?
It’s the first firing of the new season, but we will still address the reasoning behind it just as we have over the past few years. We will look back at a revised What ‘Apprentice 5’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see where Summer went wrong and what, if anything, she did right. Along the way, I’ll also have a few things to say about another person who perhaps should have been fired.
The first, and most important, rule is to show leadership. In this case, Trump picked the project managers, so nobody had a chance to volunteer for that particular position. However, the rule specifically addresses cases when a contestant is not the project manager: “In that situation, Trump will still want to see leadership. You should volunteer for a significant role, step up, take a stand. Don’t just hang back and wait for the project manager to screw up.” Summer stepped up somewhat and was put in charge of calling restaurant owners like herself to try to sell them on new or upgraded memberships.
The problem is that the rule continues, “But if you’re going to step up, don’t screw up.” Summer definitely blew it. She took on a role that could have meant the success or failure of the task, especially given how close the two teams ended up. But then she gave up after talking to only a single restaurant. That is not only a screw-up, but a stupid one at that. Has she even ever watched the show? Giving up on a task is a sure way to make yourself a target for firing.
Did Summer have cause for concern because Tarek had not provided the proper “hook” to get people into the store? Yes. Did Tarek do a great job leading his team? No. But she let him escape in part because she simply gave up. She should have kept right on going, plugging away, trying her best to do what she was supposed to do. Even better, she could have come up with a “hook” to get the restaurant owners into the store – after all, she’s the one who knows all about them. What would get her into Sam’s? Why didn’t she present that as an idea?
Part of Summer’s problem was her inability to stay cool under fire, as is recommended by the second rule. Summer didn’t lose her cool by getting angry, she went the other direction – she shut down. The pressure was on, she had calls to make, and she just… stopped.
In the Boardroom, Summer had the opposite problem. Lenny specifically told her to keep her mouth shut – it was advice she should have heeded. Frankly, she shouldn’t have needed him to tell her, as she should have known better than to interrupt Trump, especially when he was piling it on Tarek! But the pressure of the Boardroom got to her, too, and she spoke up when she shouldn’t have.
What’s really bad is when she should have been answering and defending herself, she just hemmed and hawed. Carolyn asked several times what Summer contributed, and Summer was unable to come up with a good answer. So she failed in the third rule, having a backbone, as well. That rule specifically notes, “if somebody attacks you in the Boardroom, you need to stand up for yourself.” Normally it’s another player who goes on the attack – and Tarek did plenty of that – but in this case it was Carolyn. Yet Summer didn’t have an answer to the most basic question an Apprentice applicant should expect.
And Summer also needed to have a backbone sooner. As we’ve already discussed, she should have presented ideas to “hook” the restaurant owners. Instead, we only saw her complain that the group had not done so. But Dan said, in the Boardroom, that Summer only spoke up once the task was done and it was too late. She needed to take a stand much sooner, rather than simply complaining about it.
The fourth rule says scheming and plotting doesn’t usually work. Some viewers might think, “Aha! It worked this time.” But really, it didn’t. The majority of the team, led by Tarek, focused on Summer. But Tarek’s attempt to scheme with Lee simply turned him into an enemy. (Mind you, it was a horrible effort on Tarek’s part – threats like that are not likely to impress anybody who has made it to this show.) And even with all the plotting against Summer, Trump was oh so close to firing Tarek instead due to his incompetence. Summer shot herself in the foot – it had little or nothing to do with scheming.
The fifth rule tells contestants to play well with others. I’m not entirely sure what Summer’s problem was, but she sure had most of her team out to get her. It seemed like once she believed her portion to be futile, she just shut down and didn’t even really interact with the others. Tarek may have been a jerk, but at least it seemed that most of the team liked him.1 2 Next-->
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