The Apprentice 2: Why Elizabeth Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/03/2004
As I noted at the beginning of my Survivor article on why John K. lost, the pair of ďLostĒ articles this week could hardly be easier. However, we still want to make sure we get all the way to the heart of the matter, so weíll look into What ĎApprentice 2í Applicants Should Have Learned to see what Elizabeth did wrong and why Elizabeth lost.
Well, lookee here Ė the very first rule is to show leadership. Did Elizabeth? Chalk up a big NO! to that one. Letís see how many problems we can find just by quoting from the rule:
when you are the Project Manager, by all means be the manager. Donít let other strong personalities overwhelm you.Elizabeth was the manager pretty much in name only. Everybody else overwhelmed her and almost overthrew her! She totally failed here.
If youíre going to be blamed for a loss, make sure itís a loss that you created!Yes, we could say that Elizabeth created this loss, but really it was a result that she was unhappy with. It would have been one thing to walk in and tell Donald that she believed in the ad and think it should have won. But she didnít. She walked in and made excuses. Raj, on the other hand, stood up for the ad and said he backed it fully. He might have been wrong, but at least he had the stones to stake out a claim.
What is worse than walking into the Boardroom after having lost? Walking into the Boardroom and saying, ďYes, we lost, but it wasnít my fault because I had no control over my teamĒ or making some other similar excuse.Wow. Itís hard to believe that was written before Elizabethís horrible performance. That pretty well describes exactly what happened.
In the Boardroom, Trump clearly spelled out that a leader needs to stand up for his or her ideas. As Mike DeGeorge pointed out in the recap thatís precisely what Andy did when confronted with Mariaís idea to ďsex upĒ the ad Ė he stood his ground and said no. Elizabeth kept complaining that she didnít like the idea, but in the end the ad pretty much was a militaristic campaign Ė I honestly have no idea how she could sit there and say she softened it up. Then again, I have no idea how she can claim she was the leader on this project.
Time to move on to the second rule, staying cool under fire. Oy. Another big loser here for Elizabeth. She folded so many times in this episode that itís a wonder she isnít an origami swan by now.
Letís look at just one example: Elizabeth was unhappy with the militaristic ad campaign and stayed up late into the night working on an alternative. She and Kevin discussed it and were absolutely certain that they would go with it. The next morning, Kevin left to do other things and Elizabeth presented the new idea to the group. They didnít like it. So did she stand up for her idea? We already know the answer to that. Instead, she collapsed under pressure. She caved in to what the others thought.
Of course, this wasnít the first time Elizabeth had fallen apart under pressure. Remember the restaurant challenge, when she thought she was being set up to fail and broke down crying? Not exactly a shining moment.
Another broken rule was the third: Have a backbone. Elizabeth had about as much backbone as an earthworm. She utterly failed to stand up for herself or for her ideas. Weíve already beaten that point into the ground, so letís move on.
The fourth rule says you canít be one-dimensional. Iím not entirely sure that Elizabeth had even one dimension. I mean really, what did she do well? I canít really recall anything. No, donít e-mail me and remind me of the one thing she might have done alright at Ė it isnít worth worrying about.
Fifth is to be loyal. Originally, this meant being loyal to your Project Manager. But in this case it means being loyal to the rest of the team. Elizabeth needed to either take a stand or go with the team. She wanted it both ways, and it wasnít going to happen. She showed that she could not lead, and also showed that she did not respect their opinions enough to stand by them.
The sixth rule is finally something that Elizabeth didnít have to worry about Ė showing her hand. Why? Because she had no hand to show. It was painfully obvious that Elizabeth would be fired Ė so obvious that Trump didnít even bother with a second Boardroom sitting!
Getting back to what Elizabeth did wrong, we have the seventh rule saying to play well with others. Elizabeth wasnít mean or rude or obnoxious, but she didnít really play nicely with everybody else either. Again, it came back to the way she handled (or failed to handle) the decision on the ad. Everybody because so upset at her that they were ready to stage a coup. Kevin point blank told her off. It was not pretty.
Eighth is to focus on the long-term. Hell, Elizabeth couldnít even focus on the short-term! However, if she had been looking long-term, she would have realized that this particular challenge was not the end-all be-all of the game. She either needed to go with the group consensus or make an executive decision, and then rode it from there. Either one would have given her something to say in her own defense if they had still lost. And if she had something to say, she might have been able to convince Trump that she was valuable in the long run.
The ninth rule requires that you think outside the box. Elizabeth wasnít thinking, so the box never came into play. She was reacting, not putting any thought into situations. Maybe the militaristic idea was too far outside the box. But at least there was some thought put into it.
Finally, we have Elizabethís last failure Ė using common sense. It doesnít take a genius to know that waffling as much as she did was going to make her a huge Boardroom target. As I noted earlier, it was obvious to pretty much every viewer that Elizabeth was on the way out. Iím sure it was equally obvious to her fellow players. The only person for whom it wasnít obvious was Elizabeth, and that was part of her problem. She really had no idea what was going on around her.
I shudder to think that someday, Elizabeth might actually be in a real management position. If she ever plans on going that route, she is going to need to see a surgeon first for a backbone transplant. Elizabeth was paralyzed by indecision. She was a horrible leader, could not stand up for herself, folded under pressure, and was almost overthrown by her own team. To this day, I wonder if she truly understands just how horrible a job she did. But we understand. We know that it was her utter lack of even a shred of management ability that caused Donald Trump to fire her. We know that is why Elizabeth lost.
If you havenít already, be sure to check out these other Apprentice 2 Episode 8 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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