Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
The Apprentice 5 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 13by Brian Towers -- 05/24/2006
View Printable version of this article
For new readers, in this series of articles about The Apprentice, I focus on the business actions of each player and give a brief “performance review” for each applicant each week.
I think I’m on a teeter-totter here… this late in the season, we suddenly have two subjective tasks in a row! Normally, I like to see subjective tasks earlier in the game and then a mix of other tasks in the more significant stages of the game.
But this one was the kind of a subtle task I like to see on the show. What was complex about it? Four unrelated uniforms to design, only a single teammate to act as an aide, and a complex presentation process to arrange that involved folks such as models and designers often thought to be “high-strung.” Finally, the judges weren’t the usual ones (executives) but a crowd of regular Joes.
An aside, sorta off-topic, or not:
In my area, the broadcast of this episode was followed (on a different channel) by an episode of the Brit show, Project Catwalk. For the majority of you unfamiliar with that show, it’s essentially Project Runway, Euro style. The reason I bring that up here is that this week, their brief (translating, that means, “their task”) was to design a maid uniform!
So, what key factors developed on Project Catwalk? Be simple, make something functional and flexible, and allow for the fact that these women are all sizes. Key quote? From one of the maids, “We’re here to do a job, not be sexy.” And you know what? Those folks didn’t “get it,” either!
OK, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Again this week the lads exhibited fine teamwork skills. It seems simplistic to ask the person doing the work what needs to be improved in their environment, and with prompting from the Embassy executives, both teams did it. Regrettably, only Gold Rush was carefully listening to the responses. Lee and Sean exhibited superior communication skills (specifically, showing empathy for their audience and actually listening to the responses), and that was key to their victory.
It’s not exactly clear who uncovered the information that cooks wanted venting in their uniforms and valets needed clothing that accommodates the changing seasons, but these were key facts the other side didn’t grasp.
Lee: I can’t even wait… you have no idea how long I’ve wanted to type this for somebody, anybody… “Lee’s rating is EXCELLENT!” Phew.
Much of the team’s success was due to Sean’s efforts this week, but it was Lee’s turn to lead this week and he didn’t shirk the role. Trust me, one of the best skills a leader can exhibit is to know when to get the heck out of the way and let a competent aide stride forth. As a result, Lee has upped his record as a PM to 3-1.
Mind you, Lee exhibited many positive traits on his own. Although they did talk to the execs, Lee quickly and correctly shifted focus to the right audience, the staff. In those interviews with the Embassy staff he remained approachable and picked up that subtle uniform changes were all that was required.
Basically, he avoided over-engineering the solution. He worked well with all the other parties and kept focus on the objective. Sometimes, simpler is better.
b>Sean: As good as Lee was this week, Sean was even better. He showed us a new side of himself this week – his metrosexuality – and it carried the Gold Rush micro-team to a one-sided victory.
When Gold Rush met with the executives, they learned the importance of branding and company image. Branding didn’t seem to re-emerge in this episode, but understanding and applying the concepts of being stylish yet practical led them to the win. I thought Sean worked well with both the designer and the models. He was clear in conveying what he wanted without being condescending.
Sean definitely earned his EXCELLENT rating! In fact (though there was a dearth of competition), I’d say this was the most effective display of the Apprentice 5 season.
Going into the finale, Sean’s record as a PM is 2-0. Additionally, he has only been brought to the Boardroom once.
When task assignment starts out with Trump giving you a slap on the wrist for questionable behavior in that last Boardroom, is that a good thing? No.
There have been a couple of “fashion” tasks in past seasons, and a female lead has always won. Given that both ladies dress very well, I can only guess their expertise with clothes starts at the hanger?
Where the ladies went wrong was that although they talked to the people who did the work, they seemed more interested in pushing their solutions on them than actually listening to what they heard. It was never more obvious that when they spoke to an obviously intimidated group of maids and told the maids what they thought. Not listening is always going to be fatal in this game.1 2 Next-->
View Printable version of this article