The Apprentice 2: Why Ivana Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/07/2004
Did anybody ever really think that Donald Trump would hire somebody named “Ivana” as his apprentice? Come on, now. However, that’s not the reason that Ivana heard the words, “You’re fired.” Ivana did so much to hurt her own cause that her name could have been “Trump S. Great” and she still would have been sent packing.
Ivana has had various problems pop up throughout the game. Which ones finally came back to bite her on her skirtless butt? We will use What ‘Apprentice 2’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see what Ivana did right, what Ivana did wrong, and why Ivana lost.
The first rule, of course, is to show leadership. Ivana showed leadership by having an 0-2 record as Project Manager. Hmmm. Meanwhile, her cohorts in the Boardroom had a 2-0 record and a 3-0 record. Ouch.
But even putting aside her losing record, let’s look at how she demonstrated her leadership. When she led the ice cream task, Ivana presided over chaos. She absolutely could not control the troops. For example, when trying to decide what flavor to make the ice cream, they had a board full of choices, and nobody could make a decision. Then she lost part of her team on the streets of New York for two hours! The only thing that saved her that day was Bradford making the incredibly stupid decision (which earned him a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment) to give up his exemption.
Fast forward to the most recent week, where Ivana was again Project Manager. She only had two teammates, but she still couldn’t keep them in line.
Kevin took charge in the M&M factory, telling plant workers what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Ivana did nothing to stop him. But it got worse. When it came time to sell, Kevin decided on his own to lower the price of the candy bars. So Ivana jumped into manager mode and stopped him, right? Wrong. She let him do whatever he wanted. Wow, that’s sure showing Trump how to lead!
Then, Ivana did what any leader should do in a time of trouble – she stepped up, took the reins, and pulled off her skirt! Um, wait.
Yes, Ivana saw that her team could be losing. Yes, she stepped up with a plan. But it was the wrong plan. I don’t believe I have ever heard of a corporate CEO saying, “Our competitors are beating us and we are losing market share. Therefore, I will strip down to my underwear on CNBC tonight if you buy more of our widgets!” It was, simply put, an incredibly stupid move.
The second rule is to stay cool under fire. Ivana had serious problems with this, both on tasks and in the Boardroom. When Ivana had a good idea and could run with it, she was fine. However, during all the other times, she had a tendency to get a bit freaky and just shout out random nonsense – as she did during the Pepsi challenge. I’m not sure if this was stress or not, but this seems as good a place as any to mention it.
In the Boardroom, she easily folded under pressure. As already noted, if Bradford hadn’t made his dumb move, Ivana might easily have gone then – in large part because she couldn’t make up her mind on what to say.
Most recently, Ivana completely lost it in the Boardroom. It was obvious that she was defensive (heck, she even admitted it, which wasn’t very smart either) and she wasn’t making sense while under pressure. Let’s go over a few of the things she did wrong:
Needless to say, none of this behavior demonstrated that Ivana could remain cool under fire.
The third rule is to have a backbone. As we’ve already seen, Ivana did not stand up for herself when she was the Project Manager. She did show some promise at other times, such as when she got her group moving when Wes wouldn’t during the wedding shop challenge, or when she came up with the idea for the fit wheel at Levi’s. Neither of these was enough to save her when balanced against everything else.
This leads us to the fourth rule, that you can’t be one-dimensional. Ivana seems to think of herself as a creative force. And it’s true that she had a few pretty good ideas – like the Levi’s wheel. Unfortunately, when she did not immediately come up with a good idea, she had lots of bad ideas. Even if we are generous and grant that sometimes it takes a number of bad ideas to come up with a really good one, that still only makes her an idea person – in other words, one-dimensional.
Ivana did okay with the fifth rule, being loyal. She agreed with Kevin that they would try to stand on their own merits rather than attacking one another, and they pretty much did that. However, there are ways to remain loyal and still point out flaws. She sort of tried to do that, pointing to the pricing issue, but she never took it where it needed to go. Perhaps if Trump had been deciding between Apex and Mosaic both, it would have been helpful. But in this case, she simply had nowhere else to go.
The sixth rule emerges somewhat from what I just mentioned. By agreeing with Kevin ahead of time that they would not go after one another, she showed her hand. He had to know at that point that he was pretty safe, since Ivana was the one who took off her skirt! Since she had promised not to attack him, that left him sitting in a good position where he could afford to agree with her. Sure, Trump has done some unpredictable things, but it’s a good bet that he didn’t want a stripper running one of his companies. Ivana showed Kevin all her cards and he was able to sit back and let the dealer take care of the rest.
The seventh rule is to play well with others, but stay professional. In this case, the “stay professional” part refers to how a player should act with others, so we won’t address the skirt thing again here (though we will hit it a couple more times, below).
But we will address how Ivana dealt with the other players. The most obvious problem came with Jen. Several times, Ivana talked about Jen being a “fembot” or having nothing behind the boobs. Honestly, I agree with Ivana on these things, but it became an obsession for her.
She could not believe that Ivana kept on slipping out of the noose. She could not believe that Jen was given credit for Ivana’s idea on the Levi’s challenge. She could not believe that she was about to get fired while Jen would make it into the Final Four. All of these things would be fine, if she hadn’t shown them. It came across as jealousy, and it wasn’t pretty.
You know how I said we’d get back to the skirt issue? Here we are, at the eighth rule: focus on the long-term. Largely because of Ivana’s obsession with Jen, she lost sight of the goal – to get a job with Donald Trump. Instead, her goal became to beat Jen, no matter what the cost.
Quoting from the rule, “Short-term thinking may win you individual challenges. But winning the challenges may not mean you win the show.” In Ivana’s case, she didn’t even win the challenge! But she tried a desperate measure to make more money than Jen (and, sort of incidentally, Sandy), not paying any attention to the fact that it would certainly hurt her in the long run. Indeed, Kevin even said (as we saw in the Yahoo Extras) that there could be “long-term implications” for the skirt incident. I’m glad somebody thought of that!
The ninth rule is to think outside the box, but not too far. Sandy and Jen thought outside the box by getting additional help from the M&M van, by dressing alike to attract attention, and by selling the bar at an exorbitant price to make up for having fewer sales people and likely fewer bars to sell (which they were right about). Ivana thought strictly inside the box at first, simply trying to sell bars to people on the streets. Then, however, she took the “too far” route with the whole skirt incident.
Not to beat a dead horse, but the tenth rule says to use common sense. Yes, you already know where I’m going with this – the skirt. ‘Nuff said on that. Of course, it also defied common sense that Ivana would try to get people who weren’t even in the Boardroom fired.
Overall, Ivana did a lot more wrong than she did right. She had a few good ideas and sometimes was a solid performer. But other times, she was out in left field, even as a worker. Plus, Ivana was a poor leader, as evidenced by both her behavior and her record. This alone might have caused her to lose when going up against two players with proven winning records. But beyond that, Ivana failed to keep her eye on the prize – instead being too worried about keeping her eye on Jen. This led her to make the horrible decision of taking off her skirt for $20.
Trump probably wasn’t going to keep a player with a record like Ivana’s anyway. But she made sure of it by her behavior both in the task and in the Boardroom. That is why Ivana lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the other Apprentice 2 Episode 13 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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