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The Apprentice 5: Why Lenny Lostby David Bloomberg -- 04/24/2006
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Some people just never learn. Take Lenny, for example. In the task before he became project manager, Bryce was project manager and screwed up a meeting with the clients/judges. He was fired. So what did Lenny do? He screwed up a meeting with the clients/judges. And he was fired. Was that the only reason Lenny was fired? Could it really be as simple as that? Why did Lenny lose?
The only way to find out if it really was that straightforward is to look at all the possibilities. This we will do, as always, by going through What ‘Apprentice 5’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see where Lenny went wrong.
The first, and most important, rule is to show leadership. Lenny was just about pushed into being project manager by Trump telling him he was on thin ice. So it wasn’t like he sought out leadership and went for the gusto.
That aside, some people can still function well in such a position, whether they really wanted it or not. Lenny was not one of those people. He was dictatorial and refused to listen to what other people (especially Charmaine) had to say. Some might say it was solid decision-making, in contrast to Michael on the other team, but Lenny went too far in the other direction.
Lenny also faired poorly in dealing with his “employees.” He had it in his mind that Charmaine was useless, so he ignored everything she said. It didn’t matter that she was absolutely right about needing to prepare for the meeting with the clients/judges – Lenny blew her off. It didn’t matter that she was trying to make a good point about the painting of the room – Lenny ignored her. Etc.
Lenny also failed to stay cool under fire, as the second rule advises. He was under pressure when the team met with the clients/judges – and Lenny had nothing to say or ask. He was under pressure in the Boardroom and often couldn’t even answer the questions posed to him – Lee did it for him. And then he snapped at Bill Rancic once, which was a bad idea, though by then the decision had probably already been made.
Certainly Lenny did fine on the third rule, having a backbone. As we already discussed, if anything he went too far in standing up for his ideas and himself. He knew what he wanted, and he did it. Unfortunately, he made decisions before hearing from the clients as to what they wanted.
The fourth rule advises that scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. And once again we see that it’s true. Lee really wanted Lenny to stick around. He prepped Lenny before the Boardroom, telling what to say (and what not to say). He acted as Lenny’s defense attorney in the Boardroom. He was even willing to go to the final Boardroom to continue arguing in his friend’s favor.
But all of it was for naught. This isn’t Survivor or Big Brother or Unan1mous. All the plotting and scheming won’t work if Trump sees through it – and he did. Of course, a blind and deaf man could have seen through it because Lenny was so obviously wrong.
Fifth is to play well with others. Lenny obviously had problems with Charmaine. I’m not entirely sure why, but they were certainly there. That led him to make bad decisions just to spite her. Charmaine wanted to prepare for the client meeting, but Lenny didn’t want to. Charmaine wanted to discuss the painting, but Lenny blew her off. Charmaine tried to explain that she couldn’t lift certain items, and Lenny just didn’t want to hear it. Maybe she was annoying, but Lenny needed to look past that to see when she was also correct.
The sixth rule says players should focus on the long-term. If Lenny had some previous star showing to fall back on, he could have tried to focus Trump & Co. on that to show that he had long-term potential. But Lenny didn’t really have that. Indeed, in the challenge immediately prior, Lenny had been on the brink of firing because he contributed nothing. Lenny was on thin ice, and then it broke out from under him in this challenge.
Another point in focusing on the long-term is that players need to learn from mistakes. Again looking back to the challenge immediately prior to this one, Bryce was fired in large part because he screwed up the meeting with the clients/judges and failed to get a grip on what the most important point was as far as they were concerned. Lenny did almost the exact same thing this time. He learned nothing from Bryce’s firing. This is certainly not long-term thinking. If one person was fired for acting a certain way, it only makes sense that another would face the same result for doing the same thing.
That takes us directly to the seventh rule, which tells players to understand the challenge. In the prior challenge, Charmaine told Bryce when the meeting was and he didn’t listen to her. This time, Charmaine told Lenny that they should prepare for the meeting and he didn’t listen to her. Last time, Bryce failed to ask the right questions to obtain the answer that Synergy received. This time, Lenny failed to ask the right questions to obtain the answer that Synergy received. So Synergy put together a better room, even with the handicap of their indecisive project manager. But Gold Rush, led by Lenny, just did what they thought the client wanted rather than actually finding out.
The eighth rule tells players to be creative. While Lenny’s idea of a music room might initially seem creative, compared to Synergy’s multi-faceted idea, it really seems pretty dull. Synergy put together a room where kids could play together, go to specialized areas, etc. Gold Rush created a room where they could… play music. Not the height of creativity.
Speaking of a one-dimensional room, the ninth rule tells players not to be one-dimensional. When it came to Lenny, I’m not sure how many dimensions he has. We know he couldn’t write jingles – or even do anything in that particular task. We know he isn’t great at thinking on his feet or public speaking or leading. What is he good at? I’m not sure we really know.
The final rule tells applicants to use common sense. It should have been common sense, especially after the previous week, to make sure to obtain all possible information from the clients. Lenny didn’t. It should have been common sense not to have the worst speaker doing the presentation. But Lenny did it and faltered. All in all, Lenny did not display a whole heck of a lot of common sense.
There really is no excuse for the way Lenny screwed up. He had just seen Bryce take the fall for failing to obtain the necessary information from his clients. And yet that’s exactly what Lenny did. Frankly, everything else he did pales by comparison. Even Bill Rancic admitted the presentation was not why Gold Rush lost (though it certainly didn’t help matters). They lost because the room was not as good – because it did not include what the clients wanted. They were taken down this path by Lenny, who led them in exactly the wrong direction. I hate to sound like one of Trump’s flunkies, but this firing was obvious. That is why Lenny lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Apprentice articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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