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What ‘The Apprentice: Los Angeles’ Applicants Should Have LearnedPage 5
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Many of the challenges are one-shot deals, where you try to make the most money and then move on. But in the first series, we saw that some challenges later in the show actually built upon the earlier ones, such as the rickshaw challenge in which Versacorp got previous companies they’d worked with to buy ads. In his book, Bill Rancic said that it was easy to sell ads to the companies since they already had relationships with them. If nothing else, they didn’t have to spend as much time explaining to them who they were, why there were cameras, why the ads would only be on the rickshaws for one day, and so forth. Having built good relationships with those companies allowed them to sell more ads in a shorter period of time than if they’d been starting from scratch.
Similarly, Nick was thinking along the right lines when he refunded the money of a company whose ads had fallen off during that same challenge. If his team had lost because of that, would they have held him responsible? Maybe. But I’d like to think that Trump would have seen that he did the right thing for the long haul, even if it was the wrong thing for the immediate situation.
The challenges can show Trump some things about contestants. For example: Sam was nuts. But failure at a given challenge does not mean you will lose; success at a number of challenges does not mean you will win. Many viewers expected Amy and Troy to be the final two the first time around. Troy showed himself to be an excellent salesman and thus helped his team do well in challenges. Amy won every challenge she was in for weeks on end. But neither of them were what Trump was looking for, long-term.
Taking a look at the final two from Apprentice 2 also gives some good insight about long-term thinking. Kelly did win far more challenges than Jen. But more than that, Jen had a very narrow outlook, focusing more on doing what it took to survive each round than on showing she would be a good person to hire overall. She attacked other players whenever she had the opportunity, and it got her to the finals. But it was obvious that it would not get her any further. Kelly, on the other hand, focused on his own abilities and on showing why he would be a good pick rather than on why somebody else would be bad. He won.
Sean, Season 5’s winner, charted a similar course. He worked hard, he didn’t sabotage people, he said what he thought – all of these led Trump to see that he was a good, hard-working guy who deserved to win.
At this point, we need to add a new corollary to this rule: Learn from people’s mistakes. Don’t do the same stupid thing that got somebody else fired! During Season 5, Bryce was the project manager and screwed up a meeting with the clients/judges. He was fired. In the very next task, what did Lenny do? He screwed up a meeting with the clients/judges. And he was fired! 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.
7) Understand the Challenge
Over the course of the series, it has seemed that sometimes people don’t really understand what they are supposed to be doing. We’ve already mentioned Tara from the third season in the PS2/graffiti challenge – she wanted to create a mural to represent the people of the area. But PS2 wanted her to create a mural that would sell their product. Thus, she lost – and was fired.
Similarly, the entire Magna team failed to comprehend the point of the Burger King challenge. They were not there to make the most money. Anything they sold other than their particular sandwich choice did them absolutely no good. The goal of the challenge was to sell that sandwich, period. But they didn’t focus on it and they lost.
The same can be said about Excel in the Dick’s Sporting Goods challenge of the fourth season. They set up a great area to promote baseball and help teach kids about it, but somewhere along the line, they forgot that they were supposed to sell stuff. They were slaughtered, causing an actual drop in sales, and four members of their team were fired in one fell swoop.
We mentioned earlier how Season 5’s Bryce screwed up and Lenny followed in his footsteps. One way in which this happened was that neither of them figured out what the client really wanted. Bryce didn’t know that Arby’s wanted to make the point that the product was only available at Arby’s. Lenny then did the same thing with his client. Both times their team lost, and both of them were fired because of it.
Some challenges require making the most cash; some require making the most profit; some require being the most creative. Each one must be approached differently, with the ultimate goal in mind.
8) Be Creative, But Not Insane
There is a fine line that applicants need to walk for this rule. Trump is not looking for an applicant who is too conservative, too stuck in the usual way of doing business. Applicants need to look at what they are asked to do and see how they can do it in ways nobody has thought of before.
Think of Protégé’s advertising campaign for the jet company in the first season. The men went conservative and lost. The women went bold – maybe even over the top – and won.
An even better example was Troy in the Trump Ice challenge. He had the idea to write long-term purchase orders and court distributors rather than just trying to sell a case or two at a time. It was a big idea, and it won. Similarly, in the rickshaw competition, Versacorp didn’t limit their thinking to how they could get more riders – they focused on how they could make money in other ways, in this case by getting ads. It was a brilliant idea and easily beat Protégé.
In the second series, Ivana’s team succeeded in the Levi’s challenge with their Fit Wheel idea; Kelly took his team to victory in the Pepsi challenge with the well-designed Edge bottle featuring a hole in the middle.
For God’s sake, when it comes time to advertise, as it will throughout the season, don’t just print up and hand out flyers. Dull, dull, dull!
Sometimes, you can go too far, though. Sam’s idea of selling lemonade for $1000 was crazy. But he didn’t get fired that week. Trump thought Sam could have some potential – he liked the creative thinking. Eventually, Sam showed he wasn’t just creative but insane, and was fired. But he was an extreme case. If you try something big once and it doesn’t work, Trump will likely still appreciate the effort. Just don’t overdo it, and don’t do it too near the end of the show, when there aren’t many people left to go. On the flipside of the Pepsi challenge, Andy led his team to dismal failure in that same challenge with the geography idea. Sorry, but like it or not, geography is not cool and edgy. That was not creative, just dull.
9) You Can’t Be One-Dimensional
As we look back on the rules we’ve gone over so far, we need to remind ourselves that Trump is not looking for just a salesperson. He isn’t looking for just an idea person. He isn’t looking for just a new ad exec. He is looking for a leader who can provide creative thoughts. You might be the best salesperson/real estate agent/lawyer/whatever in the world, but that doesn’t mean you’ll win The Apprentice because, well, that’s not what he is looking for.
Look at who won the first series. Bill was a man who had already built his own business from the ground up. He showed leadership, he showed an ability to sell products, he came up with smart ideas. He had many different aspects of business acumen down pat. And who won the second series? Kelly practically exuded leadership, had some great ideas over the course of the “interview,” and was able to do many different tasks – even designing a woman’s outfit in one challenge! When Kendra finally stepped up, she showed that she could do many things – design, be creative, sell, and lead. Randal showed leadership abilities in addition to being well-rounded as a businessman. And while Lee showed more creativity than Sean, Sean had been solid as a hard worker and leader throughout. All five were multitalented and the best choices Trump could make.
Indeed, at one point George told Erin that the point of the 16-week job interview was so the candidates could show their versatility.<--Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next-->
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