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The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Weekly Performance Review, Episode 1by Brian Towers -- 01/09/2007
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In this series of articles about The Apprentice, I will be focusing on the business actions of each player. Toward that end, I’ll be giving a capsulated “Performance Review” on the applicants each week. Warning, a few comments on game play just might sneak in there, too!
I’ll begin by defining the rating categories I’ll be using again this season. The three positive ratings of EXCELLENT, GOOD, and SATISFACTORY are pretty self-explanatory. I use the phrase NO RATING for those invisible ones that probably haven’t messed up, but didn’t do anything to catch my eye either. However, since on this show you ought to be trying to stand out and not staying under-the-radar, that’s why I have this separate and slightly lesser designation. It’s kind of like SATISFACTORY without the visibility; think of it as a “C-minus” grade in high school.
I use three more ratings to report negative activity. NEEDS IMPROVEMENT means that there are one or possibly more areas that need to be improved, but there’s realistic hope that the situation can be reversed. UNSATISFACTORY means big problem(s) have surfaced and overall, the job seems out of reach. And UNACCEPTABLE means multiple and/or repeated failures… usually reserved for the one getting fired, or one who ought to have been.
That’s it – seven ratings, possibly modified on rare occasions by the adjectives VERY or ALMOST if I’m feeling particularly whimsical. That’s similar to the minor differences between, for example, a “C” and a “C-plus.”
Enough with the preliminaries; let’s get on to our first set of reviews of the season!
There were actually two tasks this week. The first was unofficial; it was to erect a big camping tent. Primarily, it provided players with some basis for their choices while selecting teams later on. Secondly – and for exemption from the Boardroom process – they washed cars. I guess supplies were made available for free, as this task was measured by gross sales revenue alone. In each task, some players stood out while others just stood around. Let’s look at each person in turn.
I note the teams don’t have “official” names yet, so I’ll identify them by the project managers’ (PMs’) names. Not that it matters, but I note there are seven women and two men on this squad. Heidi’s group worked very well as a team and, as Ivanka noted, they worked harder. When they opted not make negative comments about each other at the reward dinner at Spagos, they showed professional respect that is rare on this show. Overall, this was a team victory.
As is usual for the winning team in an early episode, there were several who fulfilled the role of “effective worker bees” whose efforts just never made it past the editing process. Therefore, I have NO RATING for Aimee, Jenn, Marisa, Muna, and Surya this week.
Angela: Every season Trump picks his favorites, though sometimes it’s for the oddest of reasons. Olympic athlete Angela is the fair-haired one this time out. We’ll see if it’s warranted, but since she wasn’t especially visible, for now the rating is SATISFACTORY.
Derek: Derek was the very first one picked to be on a team. Trump notices these things. We’ll see if it was a smart choice and also assign Derek a SATISFACTORY rating.
Heidi: Heidi started the game strongly, taking control of setting up the tent. All seemed to be going well until she allowed noisy Frank to usurp her role. It was disconcerting that she yielded control so readily, and that the others switched their attention to Frank without much more than a raised eyebrow or two.
As one of the initial PMs, Heidi started by addressing all the main points of the carwash task, but just not very well. Knowing her area and getting the topless guys for promotion was a good move, though marks are lost when one tries to pick up Ivanka. The need for readable signage was addressed, and although the results appeared to be of rather questionable quality, one cannot argue that the business was drawn in.
More importantly, the initial allocation of resources was poor. She did recover well in moving people from sales into labor once the lineups got overly long, but customers were getting rightfully upset at having to wait an hour for a car wash. Also, not offering the detailing options that could have generated more income might well have cost them victory at the end, had the other team not been so clueless. It’s my understanding that these are the cash cows for most car wash operations.
Celebrating at the hot tub after the task, Heidi made a smart move when she told the team that she noticed that there was no one complaining to her and thanked them all for their cooperation. That helps not only by passing out some free kindness, but now who would want to be the first complainer?
Before the Boardroom, Heidi told her team she was going to try and get the weakest candidate on the other team to stay. One inside however, Trump let her know he had seen that probability coming, and Heidi did well not to lie and pretend it was otherwise. Sitting in that third chair has its own pitfalls, and Heidi dodged those hurdles well.
Overall, Heidi’s effort is a GOOD rating.
Kristine: Kristine had one sharp moment when Trump asked them how the tent-raising went. She said, “There were too many cooks in the kitchen.” I think speaking out freely and being noticeable at this early stage is a smart move. SATISFACTORY.
Frank’s team had most of the face time this week, so I was able to scrape up a comment, however minor, for everyone. This team consists of more men, outnumbering the ladies six to three.1 2 3 Next-->
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