The Apprentice: Weekly Performance Review, Episode 2 Ė Asleep at the Wheelby Mike DeGeorge -- 01/21/2004
Before I evaluate the performances of each candidate this week, Iíd like to mention the ads themselves. The Boston Globe watched the episode with one of the Marquis owners, Bill Allard. He pointed out that the womenís campaign wasnít very good Ė he specifically noted he would never use something like it. But they made the effort to give Marquis what they wanted, and that made the difference over the generic VersaCorp ad. It was the lesser of two evils.
Amy: Your first act as Project Manager was to try to stop the bickering between Ereka and Omarosa. In my mind, this is the absolute smartest thing you could have done at that point. It really didnít work, but the effort was important. It was also your idea to meet with the client, which as we now know, made the difference. You could have done better at keeping your team on the same page and been more active in decision making, but in this case, success is success.
Ereka: Youíre not entirely at fault in the fights with Omarosa, but not entirely innocent, either. You need to stay away from her, period. You keep putting yourself in situations to get into fights. Let her sleep Ė you should just walk away. Throughout this week youíve seemed immature, since your main reaction to the fights is to go off on a rant.
Tammy: You came up with the idea of plane as phallus. Let me give you a little clue: as a rule, men donít like to be told that their luxuries are substitute penises. Especially the types of men who would purchase private jet time. Whether it is true or not is irrelevant; what is true is that advertising should not make fun of the target market.
Kristi: Your main contribution to this episode was your interviews. Normally I wouldnít bring this up, but (aside from the ďsomeone is going home every weekĒ idiocy) your interviews were thoughtful and well-presented.
Heidi: Worse than Kristi, your contribution this week was ďthe lean.Ē Not very inspiring.
Jessie and Katrina: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Next week, your personal assignment is to do something. Anything. Iím begging you here.
Omarosa: As I said last week, your biggest flaw is thinking that your ideas are automatically the best, and not taking anyone elseís idea into consideration. If itís not something you came up with, you think itís no good. You were offended that they didnít take your idea of selecting the Project Manager randomly. In fact, it was your idea to choose a Project Manager before you even knew what the project was, which could have been fatal for your team. You were patronizing towards other opinions, going so far as to make fun of them on top of simply disagreeing with them. In fact, youíre patronizing in general, speaking to the others as if they are beneath you. Nobody likes you, and itís quickly getting to the point where they will not take your ideas on principle. You called Ereka a baby minutes after whining about everyone keeping quiet on the plane. Youíre speaking out of both sides of your mouth, thinking the rules donít apply to you. When you become Project Manager, you will be an unmitigated disaster.
Finally, of course, thereís your ďracistĒ talk. Nothing gets me madder than people trying to throw racism into a situation where none exists. You can believe all you want that they donít like you because of your skin color, but you better have more proof than that if you want to make it more than an accusation. Of course, I have a feeling youíre throwing around racism like the other women are throwing around sex appeal.
Nick: Last week I told you to stop whining and do something. You did. You and Bill and Bowie took over the ads, even if you didnít know what you needed. Donnie told you that they wanted something huge, so you should have gone bigger. I canít take points off, because it was a good campaign, if boring. You stepped up and helped Kwame with his presentation. In short, you seemed like the MVP of the team this week. Finally, you showed fire and desire when you (rightly) demanded an explanation from Jason about going to the Boardroom. You werenít going to take it lying down, and Iím sure that impressed Trump just as it impressed me.
Bill: You helped out with the ad campaign in a big way. Your contributions may not have stood out, but you were an important part of the team. I have nothing to complain about.
Bowie: You also helped with the campaign. Maybe Iím picking on you because I like you, but I think you should be doing more than it appears you are doing.
Troy: You were the first to try to get Jason to meet with the owners of Marquis. It didnít work, but it seems that nothing anyone said would have made a difference. More importantly to me, you helped Sam calm down when there was nothing in it for you. Nick was the MVP of the team; you are the soul of it. Over two episodes, youíve shown yourself to be a true leader. I feel you are a front-runner for the job, but the only attribute I think youíve yet to display is a killer instinct. Iíll be watching you more closely than anyone in the coming weeks.
Kwame You were willing to take the responsibility of Project Manager but didnít demand it. But maybe you should have. You had every right, with your background, to fight for it. This hesitation could be seen as a sign of weakness. Iíve noticed that you have an aversion to standing behind your thoughts, which I see as a lack of confidence.
Sam: I canít believe youíre still here. I have to say Iím shocked, actually. Trump obviously sees some potential in you Ė he seems to be the only one who sees it, but then again, heís the one who counts. I thought your falling asleep would absolutely kill you, but it didnít. Some think the producers had something to do with it. The credits have a disclaimer that basically says ďThe producers consult with Trump about whom to fire, but the decision is ultimately his.Ē
Thatís the beauty of this show. Sam could stay until the last episode, because he makes great TV, and thereís ZERO chance that he would sneak in and win. Unlike Survivor, thereís no need to get rid of the threats or people you donít think deserve to win early.
Jason: Initially, I thought Sam should have been fired instead of you. With a bit more thought, I realize why you were fired. First and foremost, the decision not to meet with the Marquis owners was what lost the account for VersaCorp. You never admitted that it was the problem. You seemed surprised when Trump said so. See, the ad people picked the womenís ad because it was flashier Ė thatís what the client wanted. Had you met with the client, your team might have glitzed up the ad and good taste would have prevailed. Geez, Donny even TOLD you to swing for the fences and make something atypical. But you didnít listen.
Secondly, you did something in the board room which pisses a lot of managers off to no end. Instead of taking responsibility for your failure, you almost broke your arm pointing fingers, especially at Sam. You didnít exactly go out of your way to tell Trump that Nick shouldnít get fired (you simply said ďit had to be someone,Ē which is a big difference), and Trump saw that as disloyalty. A manager who wonít stand up for his employees is not a manager most bosses want to have.
Either of these two offenses Ė a critical mistake that loses the account, or poor leadership and not sticking up for your crew Ė might not have been enough to overcome Samís sleeping on the job. Together, they were lethal.
Should Sam have gone? I say no. Sleeping on the job is, without a doubt, grounds for immediate termination. However, by Jasonís own admission (which he explained at more length in his RealityNewsOnline interview), Sam was doing nothing more than a small, unimportant task. Sam may have fallen asleep out of boredom, frustration, or even spite. Hereís the important thing, Jason: what did you do when Sam fell asleep? Did you wake him up and read him the riot act, or did you sit there and point at him, laughing? You may have figured that he was a lost cause, but that merely makes you a failure as a leader. One thing managers in this show donít seem to realize is this: the failure of your employees is your failure, no matter what else happens.
It will be interesting to see Sam as Project Manager next week. I donít think heíll be going home, knowing Mark Burnettís style as I do. If Sam were going home, he wouldnít foreshadow it quite so heavily. I predict that the women will lose, and either Omarosa or Tammy will be out on the streets.
Mike DeGeorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis. You can email Mike at email@example.com.
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