The Apprentice 3: Why Todd Lostby David Bloomberg -- 01/21/2005
It seems like just yesterday, I was sitting through a seemingly-endless three-hour finale to tell us what we already knew – that Kelly was a better choice than Jen to become the second Apprentice. But now we’re back with a whole new bunch of applicants, 17 of whom are going to get fired.
The first to hear the words was Todd, the 34-year-old sales manager who was also a “successful restaurant entrepreneur” according to his brief official bio. Yes, that’s right, he works in sales and knows restaurants, yet he was fired after a task that involved sales at restaurants. Ouch. That’s gotta sting.
As we did last season, each week we will discuss the person who was fired in light of the blueprint found in the new and improved What ‘Apprentice 3’ Applicants Should Have Learned. We will go over what they did wrong, what they did right (if anything), and, of course, why they were fired. So let’s start by figuring out why Todd lost.
The first rule, as always, is to show leadership. Trump re-emphasized this for us several times in the first episode – unfortunately for Todd, it was always at his expense! How many times did we hear that Todd could not lead Danny? Or that Todd did not lead his team? What does Rule #1 have to say about such situations? “When you are the Project Manager, by all means be the manager. Don’t let other strong personalities overwhelm you.” Yet that’s precisely what he did.
What else does this rule have to say? “What is worse than walking into the Boardroom after having lost? Walking into the Boardroom and saying, ‘Yes, we lost, but it wasn’t my fault because I had no control over my team.’” That about sums up Todd’s whole argument. And it went nowhere, fast.
Todd does get a few points for volunteering to be Project Manager, and I was happy to see both teams pick leaders based on supposed skills rather than random draws, but while volunteering is good, it does not earn a free pass. Todd failed to back up his claim to experience by actually showing that he could lead.
The second rule says to stay cool under fire. Todd did a fine job of this – too fine. He was so cool that it almost seemed like he wasn’t even part of the challenge. And, really, in many ways he wasn’t. He didn’t see the marketing ploy (tossing a baseball) until it was already on the street; he didn’t learn the kitchen. He was cool as can be, but he was helpless.
He was also pretty calm in the Boardroom. And why shouldn’t he be? He had the backing of almost all of his team! Unfortunately for him, that wasn’t enough of a smokescreen.
Similarly, Todd seemed to do well in the backbone department – at least in the Boardroom. He tried to defend himself there, but the problem was that his behavior was pretty much indefensible.
In the challenge, Todd sat on his butt in Burger King and let others make important decisions for him. If he was that concerned about how Danny and Stephanie were doing in marketing, he should have given them a firmer deadline and told them to get back to him by that time, period. Instead, he complained a lot that they weren’t making decisions, but didn’t do anything to help. It was almost as if he might have been thinking in the back of his mind that it wasn’t a problem because if they lost, he’d have somebody convenient to blame.
The fourth rule is a newly-modified one for this season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. “Scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work, but don’t show your hand.” Todd failed at pretty much all the parts of this rule.
Todd tried to get everybody on the team to target Danny. That part worked – everybody but Kendra blamed him. But that’s as far as it went. The whole scheme backfired, as we saw by George’s comments while Donald & Co. were deliberating. Furthermore, Kendra earned some bonus points from Carolyn for telling it straight!
Todd also shot the second part to hell, telling Alex ahead of time that he was going to the Boardroom. This gave Alex plenty of time to formulate what he would say, while a surprise attack might have caught him off guard. Indeed, Alex could have reasonably been blamed for the failure to have more trained cashiers. But he was able to turn that around on Todd.
The fifth rule says to play well with others, but stay professional. Todd mostly followed this one, though mostly that’s because he didn’t seem to actually interact too much with the others on his team (see the part about staying cool, above). So let’s move on.
Sixth is focusing on the long-term. Frankly, I’m not sure what Todd was focused on. He seemed to spend a lot of time at that table in Burger King, but it was never really clear what he was doing. He wasn’t working on marketing, because Danny and Stephanie were doing that. He wasn’t learning about the operation of the restaurant. So he was, um, well… certainly not thinking about his strategy in the game. Because if he had been, he would have known that playing the blame-game in this situation was simply not going to work.
The seventh rule is to think outside the box, but not too far. Since Todd didn’t seem to really do much thinking at all – rather, he delegated that away, like pretty much everything else – I believe we can safely say he failed here.
Does that mean Todd was one-dimensional, as the eighth rule admonishes players not to be? If we consider that one dimension to be management, then yes, the was one-dimensional. But considering how poorly he did at that, Todd might have actually been zero-dimensional. If we give him the benefit of the doubt, we see that Todd stepped back and delegated, delegated, delegated. That can work if the team leader provides an overall vision or focus. However, Todd didn’t even do that.
Finally, we have the rule that says to use common sense. Do I even need to point out how Todd failed here? Well, yes, of course I do – that’s the whole point of this article! The question is where to begin. Let’s make a list of just the high points:
I could go on, but those were the major four. The main point here is that delegation is all well and good, but you’re not going to be able to go into the Boardroom and simply say, “Oh, he was in charge of that, so I bear no responsibility.” Well, okay, you can go in and say that, but you’ll be taking the separate elevator afterwards.
Sometimes, the reasons for Trump’s firings are not immediately obvious. This time, however, I saw that Todd was going to take the first fall from miles away. It’s nice to get a softball once in a while.
Todd blew almost every rule in the book. He failed to use common sense and then tried to build a coalition to blow a smokescreen. But most importantly, Todd was an incredibly poor leader. He delegated too much and did too little, then tried to blame others. Trump wasn’t buying it. That is why Todd lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Apprentice 3 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent articles on this show at our The Apprentice page and take a look at our sections on Survivor: All-Stars and Celebrity Mole. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Apprentice, be sure to check out SirLinksALot!