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The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Weekly Performance Review, Episode 2Page 2
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Michelle: Michelle has dug herself a big hole with her teammates. When she didn’t support Carey’s pink swimsuit, she was proven correct, and I consider it a positive that she made her point so clearly. However, Carey’s response was essentially that he shushed her. What’s worse, no one else spoke up despite feeling the same way.
The second disagreement was a worse one for Michelle, when she chose not to voice an opinion about pricing because she hadn’t been working on the pricing aspect of the project. She was correct to made her point known that her opinions were uninformed ones. Nonetheless, when the entire team is pressing you hard for a response, however “qualified” you make it, a response must be forthcoming. As it played out, she appeared to the rest of her team to be shirking responsibility and prematurely building a Boardroom defense.
In the Boardroom, Trump identified Michelle as having “a lousy personality.” Ivanka added that she was “a weak link,” and The Donald added the shot, “But other than that, you’re doing great, Michelle.” Those kind of perceptions by those ultimately responsible for the hiring will keep her from becoming the The Apprentice: Los Angeles.
I have the impression there must be more to the team’s negative feelings about Michelle that we didn’t see. Maybe it will be in the Yahoo clips? Two teammates even named her to be fired over two more realistic targets. For now, her rating must be NEEDS IMPROVEMENT, because rightly or wrongly, her co-workers and the Trumps think poorly of her and she needs to take immediate steps to project a more positive image.
Nicole: I like how Nicole got working on the task right away. It was obvious that Carey and Michelle knew this designer’s work, and (I think) both were assigned design tasks.
Nicole is a likeable person so it’s not a big surprise that she described her management style as, “To make sure that everybody is so happy that they give it their all.” Now, people pretty much do seem to like her and they even accept working FOR her. But in this show, relationships are not permanent and “benevolent dictator” is as open and friendly as one really ought to get. In actual fact, we saw that team members questioned decisions along the way in cameo interviews, but never brought them up to the team or the PM.
Nicole said one thing along this line that worried me a lot. She said, “If somebody says something and you don’t agree with it, you really don’t have to say anything, you keep going.” Well, when Michelle said Carey’s design didn’t work for her and no one agreed, how did that work out? These are 18 of the brightest and best the country has to offer, not a bunch of yes-people. A good PM can take advantage of differing opinions and steer the group toward a consensus; Nicole never ever discovered the majority opinion.
The editing let me down a bit here, but we were led to believe that Nicole and James did the research on pricing. If so, it was incorrect for her to solicit and then demand input from everyone on pricing. Was it an attempt to share the glory, or spread the blame? Methinks both.
I did like the fact that Nicole checked her humility at the door and agreed to fill in as the sixth model. That was a bold move, but a bad one; this is not what a PM does. Had a situation developed where she needed to deal with an emergency that had been overlooked, Nicole had made herself unavailable.
In the Boardroom, Nicole defended herself well against Heidi when she initially suggested the PM was ultimately responsible for the loss, and again against James who named her responsible for the loss. She even got James to admit she was “a great motivator.”
We never saw Nicole pointing out that although they didn’t do well in the area of men’s suits, they sold over $19,000 of female suits. Had her name percolated to the front of the firing line, this point may have helped steer attention back to Carey. Her rating is GOOD, but just barely.
Carey: The common view of this episode seems to be that Carey took a bad risk by designing suits that would not appeal to the majority of men. While that’s certainly true, I think Carey’s big mistake was that he lost focus on exactly who the customer was. These retail buyers were not the cutting-edge crowd one would expect to be throwing hard-earned cash at Project Runway-style product, and Carey’s designs were pretty wild. Perhaps his perception of what percentage of the population is gay or metrosexual was wrong?
I actually could not decide which of those three suits sold even $360 worth. However, it was great fun to watch him model a suit that was his right from the sketchbook stage, and I enjoyed his sense of accomplishment.
One criticism teammates made of Carey was that he “ramrodded” his designs. For the most part, I think he stood up for his creative product. However, when it came to Michelle, he said, “You’re falling on deaf ears at this point,” and that’s my current definition of being a ramrod. It’s reality-TV karma that she was one of the last three in the Boardroom, highlighting his shortcomings for The Donald.
Initially, Carey did well in the Boardroom when there were three of them present. He seemed to have successfully shifted the focus to shortcomings on Michelle’s part, such as her “indecisiveness.” However, Heidi stepped in and stopped that. His rating is (just) NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. Hey, in other episodes we’ve seen so much worse!
Did Trump make the right decision? Yes. In a season where being the PM early puts you at great risk, I’m glad to see Mister-whitest-feet-in-America looking beyond the obvious choice of firing Nicole. Although I cannot see why that affects his ability to run a Trump company, Carey’s design were the reason Arrow lost the task.
Here’s a wee spoiler about next week’s guest judge. To see the spoiler, drag your cursor between the brackets. Don't do that if you prefer to remain spoiler-free! [ Ivanka is out earning her keep next week, so brother Don fills in for her! ]
That’s all for this week. Please feel free to let me know what your thoughts are at the address below.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Apprentice articles:
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He spent a couple of decades working in middle management at The Prudential, primarily hiding behind the coffee machine to avoid his pointy-haired bosses. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!
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