The Apprentice 2 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 3: That's Crazy Talkby Mike DeGeorge -- 09/28/2004
Well, lo and behold, just when I was getting concerned that I was being a little rough on Pamela and Ivana, I get an email from someone I've heard from before. Someone I heard from last season, in fact, disagreeing, shall we say, very strongly, with some of my harsher criticisms. And she's got a problem with my articles again this year!
Without further ado, let's hear it!
Mike, Mike, Mike,
Consider me chastised. Reading back, I think she's right. But then, of course she's right! It's Heidi! She rebounded from a rocky start to change my mind about her like no reality show contestant ever has. So if she says so, the gloves are off.
Man, I miss Heidi. She's got a book coming out in the fall, and I'll bet it will make a great stocking stuffer. I'll be sure to review it as soon as I get my copy.
Honestly, I haven't had a lot to complain about with Mosaic - except the name, of course - because even with the first week's loss they've been pretty solid. The women, however, are an uncoordinated, unfocused mess and it will take a miracle to win another challenge before the next reorganization.
I loved both your ideas, both the million dollar giveaway and the lower-key $5000 idea. The key is that you recovered so well, and I believe strong leadership is the reason. The circus atmosphere looked like a lot of fun, and most importantly, the team looked like they were having fun and that sort of thing always rubs off on the crowd. I also believe that you would have won, as the assignment was to create a buzz, and from all indications, you did that.
Chris, John, Kelly, and Wes: We didn't see much of you guys this week, and that's because the women's spectacular screwups made for much better television. Look at it this way, at least you didn't do anything bad.
Pamela: I don't like you. Actually, I don't like the person you're being portrayed as on this show, but I have a feeling that if I met you in "real life," I'd pretty much not like you then, either. Your reaction to the million dollar giveaway was pathetic - it was pretty obvious jealousy that you didn't think of it and probably didn't even know about the insurance angle. If you don't think of it, it's not any good, apparently. Your negative attitude only serves to separate yourself from the team and put a big target on your back.
Oh, and by the way, "releasing vanilla scent in the subway" would indeed create a buzz, but that's because people would be comparing it to a similar event that happened in Tokyo a few years ago. Having your company bring to mind a terrorist attack usually isn't a smart idea. But then, you haven't had a smart idea yet, have you? All you can do is criticize. Hell of a lot of good that Ivy League MBA is doing, huh?
Raj: Once again, I'd like to comment on your style. However, there comes a point when style needs to be backed up by substance, and I haven't seen it yet. Step it up, my friend!
Andy: No doubt about it, you're my favorite. What you lack in experience you make up for in enthusiasm and confidence. No one else seemed to know that you didn't actually NEED a million dollars to give away a million, and as you said, had this actually gone through you would have been a hero. Trump told you to think big, and you thought HUGE. Well done. I just hope Trump doesn't decide to fire you late in the game due to lack of experience, as he did with my favorite from last season, Troy.
Kevin: We didn't see a whole lot from you as project manager, but as I said earlier, the fact that you were able to rebound so readily from the million dollar disappointment was a sure sign of strong leadership. That sign rests surely on your shoulders, Kevin, and you should be proud of your team's performance. To illustrate my point, what would have happened to Apex had they received a call at 2AM telling them that there were too many security concerns, they couldn't have an A-List celebrity appearance? Do you think there would have been utter chaos, or the seeming well-oiled machine that we saw from Mosaic?
I say fire the lot of you and make this show easier. Bring in the reserves, because the winner of Apprentice 2 ain't gonna come from this crowd unless something changes REAL quick. You need to learn to make decisions, whether as a group or as individuals, without the angst and finger pointing that have characterized your first three weeks. I'm not a huge baseball fan, so bringing Mike Piazza to an appearance does nothing for me, especially since he looked incredibly bored the whole time. I'll close this with a quote from Heidi: "It goes to show you that just because you have an Ivy League degree, it does not mean you are the sharpest tool in the box. Some of them are one fry short of a Happy Meal!" Well said.
Stacy: You've got lots of spunk. I HATE spunk.
Jennifer M.: It's not surprising to me that you're in law, because you can argue like there's no tomorrow. In fact, you're one of the few women who I wouldn't fire right now, if I had the chance.
Sandy: You crowed in the boardroom that your big accomplishment this week was getting Mike Piazza. Wow, that was a difficult task. That's like taking credit for dinner because you were the one who ordered it from the drive through. Color me unimpressed.
Jennifer C.: Let me ask you something. Can you do anything besides stand there with a disbelieving look on your face and make snarky comments?
Ivana: Hoo boy, where to start with you? It might be easier to list the things you've done right:
Okay, maybe that's not a good idea, because I haven't been able to think of anything you've done well yet. This makes two weeks in a row that you should have been the one on the down elevator, and you lucked out each time. You haven't done anything to justify the space you take up in the suite, much less your continued existence on the show. You're also lucky that you weren't in the final boardroom, as Trump sounded like he had his eye on you to take the long cab ride. You weren't the entire reason that Apex lost this challenge - technically, Maria and Elizabeth had the larger blame - but as the budget supervisor, you sat back with your thumb… well, somewhere other than where it should have been as Maria flushed your team's chances down Trump's solid gold commode. And one more thing. You were raped by the printer? Overreact much?
Here's why Ivana should have been fired instead of Stacie: assuming the worst, we can expect a one in three chance that Stacie would flip out, as she'd done it in one task out of three. Not only that, but she did it AFTER the task was completed, but that's neither here nor there. So by the simple law of averages, who would you rather have on your team, an otherwise intelligent woman who might have a bad reaction to stress and might cost your team? Or someone who has proven over three tasks to be absolutely useless and incompetent at everything they did and is guaranteed to cost the team?
Maria: I said it before - you scare me. And it's no longer in a good way. You look to be all mouth and attitude and no results. The cart was hopelessly lost last week, a half a block away, huh? You got a firm quote, but nothing in writing, huh? This is what's known in technical terms as "screwing the pooch," and stupid mistakes like this will absolutely kill you in the business world.
Another thing, your attitude needs to change, pronto. In that little confab at the beginning of the episode, the second time you pointed that finger in my face would be the last. Stacie is sitting there trying to be diplomatic and professional, and you're going nuts in her face. She would have been absolutely justified in shoving that finger down your throat. You've always been among the first to point fingers, one of these days you might want to take some responsibility for your foul ups. You might find that people will actually respect you for it.
And I have to give credit to a regular reader who pointed out something I hadn't considered. In his words, "ALWAYS offer an incentive to a vendor who in my cheapskate opinion is charging too much: offer free advertisement, golf spot, sponsor credit, whatever it takes, particularly if I don't get the price in writing." Maria, as a VP of Marketing, you should have been the first to think of this.
Elizabeth: For the second week, Apex had a horrible leader. Let me make this clear, just in case the concept is too difficult - if everybody does whatever they want, there's no point in having a manager. As leader, your job is to make sure everyone does THEIR jobs. Saying, "Proctor and Gamble wouldn't like that," is not leadership, it's opinion. You were an absolute wreck, which is becoming an Apex trademark, actually. I'm BEGGING the next Apex Project Manager, for the love of Trump, PLEASE make an actual decision without going through a list of eighty-five alternatives first. Please?
Stacie: For the third week in a row, I think the wrong person was fired. I have to agree with Betsy's opinion in her article that you weren't fired for being "crazy" so much as it was a result of nobody else on the team seeming to like you. A team can't exist if one member doesn't fit in, so fair or not, you were causing a problem.
During the episode, particularly in the early boardroom segment, I thought to myself that you were the only member of Apex I would consider hiring, for the express reason that you don't fit in with these idiots. Kind of like my enemy's enemy, people I have no respect for don't respect you, and that makes you OK in my book.
In addition, as Betsy said, I would have taken great offense to the others diving into your mental health after having known you for such a short time. Maria even professed to tell you that you believe in Magic 8-Balls when you said you didn't! In a way, you were in a bad situation because any attempt to defend yourself might have just made you look crazy and "proven" their point.
In the end, you were the victim of people leaping to conclusions. Apex looked at your hair and makeup, factored in a momentary weakness caused by stress, and leaped for your neck like a hungry wolf. In a competition like this, showing such a large mental lapse can be unrecoverable, as it was in your case.
Was that better, Heidi?
Mike DeGeorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and has almost ten years of management experience. He is also Assistant Editor of RNO. Email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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