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The Apprentice: Los Angeles – Why Kristine Lostby David Bloomberg -- 04/12/2007
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I must say that I was never terribly impressed with Kristine. However, in this particular task, she seemed to be the lesser of two evils. But she made one mistake. Does it really only take one little error to get fired by Donald Trump? Why did Kristine lose?
It may seem odd to use our standard look back at What ‘The Apprentice: Los Angeles’ Applicants Should Have Learned to determine why Kristine lost. I mean, we could just say, “She screwed up the phone number,” and we’d save a lot of time, both mine and yours. But you should know by now that things are rarely that simple, and the same is true here. So let’s take a closer look.
The first rule tells players they need to show leadership. Kristine had a pretty decent record as a project manager, but of course we all know her team believed they won in spite of her, not because of her. And from what we saw, it sure looked like they were correct. However, whether Trump knew that is questionable.
It makes it that much more ironic, therefore, that this time it looked like she actually did most of the work, and should have properly gotten credit for it if they had managed to avoid coming in last. She followed this rule by taking care of her part of the task and doing it (mostly) well. It was Nicole’s poor performance in the presentation that dragged the duo down to the level of Frank and Heidi.
Kristine also followed the second rule by staying cool under fire. She could have gotten all pissed off about the way Nicole was acting. She could have insisted that Nicole stay up and work rather than sleeping. Instead, she just let Nicole sleep and went on with her own work. Then, in the Boardroom, she calmly recited the tale of what happened to the Trumps when Nicole left to check the phone number, and stuck to her calm telling of the story when Trump brought it back up after Nicole had returned. No problems here.
This particular task didn’t give much opportunity for Kristine to show how she did with the third rule, having a backbone. But we know she stood up for herself earlier in the job interview process, sometimes earning herself some disdain for that very reason. Like I said, though, it played no role here.
But you might be surprised when I tell you that the fourth rule did play a role. It says scheming and plotting generally don’t work. “Wait,” you might say. “How did Kristine scheme and plot?” Lucky for you, I have an answer!
Kristine had the opportunity to choose whether she wanted to work with Heidi or Nicole at the beginning of the task. Even though she had worked with Heidi for the entire season, she decided to go with Nicole. She explained to us that she did this so she could hopefully get Heidi booted and not have to face her in the final two. That certainly went according to plan – at least the part about not facing her in the final two.
And that is really the point. Kristine was so worried about trying to get rid of Heidi immediately that she didn’t consider who would be a better partner in this task. It was like a player on Survivor scheming to get rid of a strong player while that strong player was still needed for the tribal challenges. I strongly suspect that if Kristine and Heidi had paired up, they would have done much better and the Frank/Nicole team would have been an easy firing for Trump. Of course, we’ll never know for sure.
The fifth rule says contestants should play well with others. Kristine did have some friction issues along the way – both her angering other people and other people getting her so mad she wanted to bang their head into the table and the like. But in this case, it wasn’t a personality problem that caused her and Nicole to fail, so we’ll quickly jump past this rule to the sixth.
And that one says players need to focus on the long-term. As I noted in Why Heidi Lost, the long-term and the short-term pretty much coincided in this task. They needed to impress Donald Trump as both their customer and potential employer. As such, the focus needed to be both on winning the task and also on being able to stand up and say they did good work.
While Kristine did a lot of good work, she screwed up one very important thing – the phone number. If you’re putting together a sales brochure, the phone number may be the most important item on it. After all, if somebody reads the brochure and wants to buy, they need to be able to get in touch with the seller. For whatever reason, Kristine somehow messed that up.
I should note that Randal had a similar screw-up in Season 4, when he put the wrong radio station on a sign. But Randal was hired! What’s the deal with that? The truth is that while there are similarities, there are two important differences. First, the brochure was for Trump himself, and he takes things personally. Yeah, it’s bad to mess up something for somebody else – but it’s death to do it for Trump. Second, Randal’s sign was a radio station, while Kristine’s brochure was a phone number. We’ve already detailed how important that phone number is to the success of a sales campaign. Another death blow.
Did that failure stem from Kristine not understanding the challenge? No, I don’t think so. I believe she fully understood what needed to be done, she just messed it up. Nicole, on the other hand, did seem to rely too much on her belief that she could do the presentation on the fly and with little preparation, which was a totally wrong thing to believe, especially in front of the Trumps. If Nicole had done a good job, it’s just possible that the phone number issue would not have been bad enough to drop their team to a tie with Frank and Heidi, meaning Kristine would have gotten little more than a slap on the wrist.
Indeed, Kristine showed on the rest of the brochure that she was creative, thus following the eighth rule. Trump really liked it – except for that one not-so-small issue. And in doing so, Kristine also managed to address the ninth rule, proving she was not one-dimensional.
But somewhere along the way, common sense was dropped out of the equation, thus causing a failure of the tenth rule. Common sense says you double- and triple-check everything, especially the most important aspects of a project, before you give it to the client. In my own job, I have seen people raked over the coals for failing to do such checking, and they deserved it. Kristine did here as well.
In watching this episode, especially the presentation and Boardroom, it certainly looked like Nicole was headed out. She slept! She gave a horrible presentation! She didn’t do nearly as much work as Kristine!
All of these things were true. Nicole screwed up more when it came to quantity. But Kristine screwed up the crucial part. She made a fatal error, and she did it on something that was supposed to sell Donald Trump’s own product. At that point, she was doomed. It was like Trump said after he fired her and she objected that she didn’t have a chance to defend herself – “You can’t defend yourself.” He was right. And she had set up the situation that led to her doom by trying to scheme her way towards the finals. That is why Kristine lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Apprentice articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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