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The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Episode 8 Performance ReviewsPage 3
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In the Boardroom, Nicole took her shots at Surya and defended Tim. In the web clips, we saw Trump question her when she said the group was hard to lead, trying to unearth a weak link. She fell back on naming the now-departed Michelle, which didn’t help Trump.
Her rating is SATISFACTORY – just. I don’t see big ideas coming from Nicole lately, and I don’t see her winning.
Stefani: Like Heidi, Stefani was present and contributing but did not stand out. Her rating will also be SATISFACTORY.
Tim: Tim came up with the boxing idea. His initial presentation (involving fighting Nicole and spinach) was horrible, but it was a reasonable starting point. Too bad it never got firmed up. And too bad it was the only idea anyone came up with.
In a deleted scene that took place before the Boardroom, Tim had a conversation with Surya about James that seemed honest and fair and, I think, without game play overtones.
In the Boardroom Trump related that the GNC exec didn’t understand what he saw. Tim agreed, placing the blame on the script. Tim described his idea as “concept good, execution bad.” Alas, we do not know who was responsible for script content.
In a web clip, Tim defended the concept of a boxing idea as Trump kept repeating, “A lot of people can’t relate to boxing.” Tim handled himself well, responding in an unflustered manner that boxing is an appropriate subject for a male-dominated soccer audience.
Tim also pointed out that although “GNC” and their slogan, “Live well,” was visually prominent, it wasn’t so in the script.
I don’t think Tim deserved to be in the Boardroom and his rating this week is GOOD.
Surya: Did you know Surya’s record is 5-2? If not, you probably appreciate that he mentioned it eight or nine times in the Boardroom. Seriously, does he think the repetition was in any way necessary? That alone might have been reason enough to fire him as it implied he thought Trump has short-term memory loss!
Team Arrow also started the show off with a team meeting. Unfortunately, it came across as somewhat self-serving on Surya’s part. One notes Surya was the only one not in casual clothes. One also notes his gushing over the team turned into a different tone by the end of the show.
It was just a few minutes later when we were reminded us that Surya still got little respect from his teammates, highlighted by Frank walking out of the meeting. These feelings were augmented in the van by words from Frank and faces from Tim and Nicole, plus in later cameos from James.
The wackiest moment of the week (if not the series) had to be Surya stopping the brainstorming session to make them think about ideas. What the heck was going on in his mind? Even the way he did it was wrong, with a tone of voice appropriate for a fourth grade teacher in the detention hall. No wonder the idea well dried up after that. No wonder his team thought he was crazy!
When James announced his doubts in the planning meeting, I liked the way Surya stood up to him. He pointed out that thinking of all the problems beforehand actually has a purpose, and it was too late to change plans now. He expressed full support of the idea they had agreed upon and forced them to go forward. This was the correct response.
Bill Rancic told us that five minutes before showtime, it was “utter chaos” in Arrow’s dressing room. I guess they lost the talking rock that Surya introduced when he first joined Arrow? This breakdown is mostly Surya’s responsibility; he needs to enforce a point after which there will be no further changes so people know what they are doing. Clearly he had lost control of his team and his project by this point.
I thought it funny that he disliked people constantly coming up with ideas because that’s hard to manage. He didn’t like all the changes to their plan because it was leading to something different. Yup, that’s how change works, and managing change is what a PM does!
Calling James “frustrating” in front of the whole group was unprofessional. Since Bill Rancic was also there, it smacked a little of Boardroom preparation itself.
I note that Surya adopted Aaron’s skill of pre-Boardroom manipulation via “hedge-mail.” Chatting with Angela, Muna, and Heidi, he did his best to get favorable seeds planted with Kristine. This was a good move, but he needed so much more.
Even after their event had played out before a crowd so indifferent as to be virtually comatose, Surya still felt they had produced a winner. He said, “It was all about his product and why his product made people's lives better. How can you not love that?” Surya went on to say, “We just went through two days of second-guessing everything. What I feel right now is vindication,” and, “I was right and it feels – great!” Delusional!
In the Boardroom, Surya interrupted The Donald a few times. Not everyone gets away with that. A web scene showed Tim calling Surya “very smart,” and “a good right-hand man” a little later on, but he stopped short of calling him a good leader.
However, even Trump got tired of hearing how Surya stepped up when Trump called for someone to switch teams, and especially that he had a 5-2 record. Those are good arguments, but they lose strength after constant repetition. The kicker for Surya came at the end of the Boardroom, when he found himself admitting he would make a better follower than a leader. He essentially fired himself!
For Surya, the rating must be UNACCEPTABLE. He never turned his book smarts into practical use, rarely generated a usable idea, lost the respect and control of his team, and showed no skills in dealing with living, breathing people.
Most of all, he was unable or unwilling to adapt his management style to suit his team. Arrow is an energetic, innovative, irreverent, and fun-loving team. That’s everything Surya (and Kinetic) is not. Arrow never embraced Surya’s management practices and never would, not even the good ones. Desperate to be accepted, it was never going to happen on his terms yet he could not change.
In Conclusion: Did Trump make the right decision? Yes, it was Surya’s time to go. James simply wasn’t responsible for the loss this week. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew who was responsible for brand integration? For the script? With no obvious scapegoat available, I must agree that the axe had to fall on Surya.
That’s all for this week, so please feel free to let me know what your thoughts are at the eAddress below.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Apprentice articles:
Brian lives in Toronto. He spent a couple of decades working in middle management at The Prudential, primarily hiding behind the coffee machines in generally unsuccessful attempts to avoid his pointy-haired bosses. He can be reached at email@example.com and would be willing to correspond regarding your opinions of all things Apprentice-oriented.
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