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The Apprentice 5: Why Pepi Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/19/2006
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Wondering why this article is a week or more late? Check out Why Bloomberg (Was) Lost for all the details.
Pepi volunteered to lead his team in the second week, but led them to a disastrous loss. Why didn’t he get more credit for stepping up? Why did he get blamed for the problems with Brent? Why did Pepi lose?
The way to find all our answers is to look back at What ‘Apprentice 5’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see, well, what Pepi should have learned – but obviously didn’t.
The biggest error is immediately obvious in the first rule, showing leadership. How many iterations of The Apprentice do we need to go through before contestants realize that going into the Boardroom and saying somebody else is uncontrollable only shows that they cannot control them? The rule clearly says: “What is worse than walking into the Boardroom after having lost? Walking into the Boardroom and saying, ‘Yes, we lost, but it wasn’t my fault because I had no control over my team.’” Yet that’s pretty much exactly what Pepi did when it came to Brent. Not smart.
So the fact that Pepi stepped up to be the leader was nullified by the other fact that he was lousy at it. It wasn’t just Brent, either. He allowed the entire team to be sidetracked by the Brent/Stacy nonsense. He needed to deal with it quickly and put it behind him, but that didn’t happen.
And that wasn’t the only occurrence when Pepi wasted time. The opposing team was up and on the streets early, but Pepi and his team slept in. Another dumb move.
Did Pepi have these failings because of the second rule, staying cool under fire? Yes and no. I think in some cases he stayed a bit too cool, like in allowing his team to sleep in. But in the Brent/Stacy case, I think he was a bit overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do. It was suggested to him that he “fire” Brent, but he just kind of babbled about Omarosa and how he didn’t know if he could do that. I believe he was right – he couldn’t “fire” Brent, but if he was that bad he could have sat him in a corner or given him busywork. Instead, he hemmed and hawed.
Which leads us directly to the third rule, having a backbone. Pepi needed to stand up to his teammates and tell them to get it together. He needed to put Brent in his place and Stacy in hers, and get the rest of the team moving in the right direction. As we’ve already discussed, he didn’t.
The fourth rule is another one that Pepi apparently never learned: Scheming and plotting don’t usually work. Pepi led the team’s discussion about how horrible, mentally unstable, etc. Brent is. While it’s nice that he led something, he should have known better. Just because everybody agrees that somebody is nutty doesn’t mean Trump is going to fire them. Indeed, it quite often happens in just the opposite way. Pepi learned this the hard way.
Pepi did follow the fifth rule in that he played well with others. Unfortunately for him, he sided with somebody who didn’t – Stacy. As much as Brent is quite an odd individual, Stacy did interrupt him frequently and did overreact to his chastising of her. But Pepi took her side – and they went down together.
The sixth rule, focusing on the long-term, was not really an issue either way for Pepi. However, the seventh rule proved to be a good part of his downfall because he failed to understand the challenge. Simply put, the goal was to get people to send a simple text message. To do that, the group needed to be in the largest group of people possible and attract their attention in a positive way. The other team figured this out – they put themselves in a place with a captive audience. Pepi relied on Stacy for the location, and both of them blew it together.
Eighth is to be creative, but not insane. Some might say that Brent was insane. Maybe so. But Pepi completely lacked creativity. Maybe it was because he spent too much time dealing with the Brent/Stacy situation, but whatever the cause, they really had no plan. Michael may have taken the hit for the bathrobe idea, but the fact is that they had no other ideas! I don’t think you can really blame the only person to throw out an idea, even if it is bad (and I’m not convinced it was that bad – at least it attracted attention). What idea did Pepi have? None that we saw.
The ninth rule says not to be one-dimensional. Unfortunately, we didn’t even see so much as a single dimension from Pepi, so he failed here as well.
Finally, we have the rule that says to use common sense. Common sense should have told Pepi not to waste time. Common sense should have told Pepi not to sleep late. Common sense should have told Pepi that busy New Yorkers wouldn’t stop to send a text message unless they had a damned good reason. Pepi failed the common sense test.
Pepi had the right idea by stepping forward to be the leader. If the failure had been less spectacular, that might have saved him. But even he agreed when Trump pointed out to him in the Boardroom that he was not a good manager. Pepi was a lousy leader who completely lost control of his team. That is why Pepi lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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