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The Apprentice 5: Why Andrea Lostby David Bloomberg -- 05/08/2006
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We’re running a bit behind with this one, but it’s time to catch up. Two weeks ago, Andrea was fired after a rather nasty Boardroom. Then again, it seems any discussion with Andrea turns nasty if you don’t agree with her 100%. Was this the main reason for her dismissal, or is there more to it? Let’s not wait any longer to find out why Andrea lost.
Even when we’re running late and might be tempted to take a shortcut, you know that’s not how we do things around here. As usual, we’ll look back at What ‘Apprentice 5’ Applicants Should Have Learned to figure out if Andrea was just nasty or if she was incompetent too.
The first and most important rule is to show leadership. It appeared that Andrea had done this in previous tasks, and Trump thought she was a star. But the rest of her team disagreed, indicating that they had not won because of Andrea, but in spite of her. Indeed, let’s look back at the 7/11 pizza sandwich task. Andrea decided, on her own, to make their giveaway a racing baseball cap. In New York City. Nobody cared, nor could they figure out what it had to do with the sandwich. Yes, her team won the task anyway, but it certainly wasn’t because of that command decision.
Three out of four other members of Andrea’s team agreed with the idea that she refuses to listen to other people and fails to inspire those she is supposed to be leading. Not exactly a great endorsement for leadership qualities.
What about some of her other qualities? Did Andrea stay cool under fire? Mostly, but perhaps a bit too much. She certainly didn’t crumble under pressure – if anything, just the opposite, she stiffened her backbone.
Which, of course, goes to the third rule saying to have a backbone. Andrea definitely had no problem there. When somebody from her team wanted to suggest changing one of Andrea’s ideas, well, Andrea just would not hear of it. It was her way or the highway.
However, within this rule is a note that if an applicant thinks he or she is the best at doing something, they should try to do it. Andrea claimed to be good at graphic design and was indeed assigned the task when Allie stupidly missed the boat from Ellis Island. Instead, she put together a front cover and overall program that was pretty bad. Andrea also claimed to be good at bulk sales, but didn’t reveal this little fact until it was too late in the task to do anything about it. Even Trump was a bit annoyed at that.
To cover her tracks, Andrea claimed that her expertise lies in hiring great people to do sales and graphics. Oooooh, now I understand. So why, then, would she claim to be an expert? Sounds a bit mixed-up to me.
The fourth rule says that scheming and plotting don’t usually work. In this case, however, it did. The three other women on Andrea’s team decided they had to show Trump that Andrea was not a superstar. They plotted out their moves, though they weren’t exactly super-secret about it, since Andrea was standing right in the hallway, overhearing everything they said! Still, it didn’t matter.
Andrea was right to target Allie in return, and I don’t think Trump would necessarily have been wrong to fire Allie – she did make several mistakes. However, with the majority talking about how bad Andrea was, and with Andrea not doing a very good job of countering them, it didn’t go as Andrea had hoped.
Most of that can be explained by the fifth rule, playing well with others. To put it simply, Andrea didn’t. Tammy called her “exceptionally difficult to be with,” noting that she questioned every decision of the project managers, created stress, and is incapable of being managed. One way she showed that she was not a team player was when Allie showed up and saw the bad cover Andrea had created. Allie tried to work with the cover, but Andrea wanted no part of it – either take her cover or she was out of the discussion. So she backed away. That is definitely no way for an adult to behave, as Roxanne pointed out.
Andrea also had some difficulty focusing on the long-term, in violation of the sixth rule. In fact, I’m not sure she even recognized there was a long-term. She instead was completely focused on winning every little minor battle, each individual argument about miniscule details. While Andrea should have been trying to show Trump & Co. how well she could do as a manager, instead she seemed intent on proving herself right, no matter the cost. Andrea seemed to believe nobody else could possibly have an idea better than hers, and so she was not even going to take the time to listen.
The seventh rule emphasized that players need to understand each challenge. I don’t think that was really an issue here for Andrea – though it would have been if Allie had been fired.
However, the eighth rule does come into play. It advises contestants to be creative. What’s creative in a task like this? Getting to the captive audience in Battery Park first is creative. Synergy didn’t do that. Getting bulk sales is creative. Synergy didn’t do that. While things like this can’t all be completely blamed on Andrea, she shoulders at least some of the blame for the latter, since, as already noted, she claims to be an expert but didn’t bother to tell anybody about it ‘til it was too late.
The ninth rule says players cannot be one-dimensional. On paper (at least, on Andrea’s paper), Andrea looks to have succeeded here. She claimed to be great at graphics, at bulk sales, at management, etc. But we saw none of this.
We did see that Andrea is a terrible one-on-one salesperson, and we saw that her graphic design was certainly nothing special. As discussed earlier, Andrea told us that her expertise is in hiring people to do that work – she specializes in operations and implementation. That’s pretty much the point of this rule, though. If Trump just wanted somebody to do his hiring, this show would be called Human Resources rather than The Apprentice. He wants somebody who can sell, see the big picture, make good decisions, and lead. Andrea did not show any of these characteristics.
The final rule says to use common sense. I’m not sure Andrea necessarily failed here, but she didn’t exactly succeed with flying colors, either. Allie certainly had problems in this area, but that’s a different column (or will be soon, I suspect).
Andrea’s biggest problem was just… Andrea. When she led, she listened only to herself. When she was supposed to follow, she wanted to be the only one heard. She was snotty and could not get along with most of the others. When her ideas were not used, she acted like a three-year-old and whined about it or just walked away and refused to help further – as she did with the program.
Trump does not need an Apprentice who won’t want to learn. After all, isn’t that the point of apprenticing? And I can’t see Andrea eager to lap up information from those around her – because she already thinks she’s the best. Even Andrea admitted in her final words that there must be a reason she works only for herself. Indeed, I think there is. Nobody else would want her, and that includes Donald Trump. That is why Andrea 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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