The Apprentice 3: Why John Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/11/2005
We saw a whole new side of John in the eighth episode of The Apprentice 3, and it wasnít pretty. Then, of course, we saw his backside as it went out the door. Why did John become a target? How did he manage to get fired after Chris yelled at George and Carolyn in the Boardroom? Why did John lose?
While Johnís behavior during this task was appalling, his loss was not sealed until the last minute. So letís take our usual walk through What ĎApprentice 3í Applicants Should Have Learned to determine what he did right and where he went wrong.
The first rule, as always, is to show leadership. John did this, having volunteered to be Project Manager once before and taking the lead in negotiations with the musicians this time around. Johnís complaint after losing was that he put himself in the line of fire, and he paid for it. I would say this is only partially true.
John did volunteer himself as the person best suited to lead negotiations. If youíre going to put yourself in that position, youíd better be able to back it up. John wasnít. As George pointed out, the negotiations should have started big, huge! Instead, they started small and generally stayed that way. If we look at where they other team got their money, we see that it was in the really big packages Ė the types of things that John apparently never even asked about.
Also, if youíre going to say that youíre a good negotiator, you need to understand how to deal with people. Calling yourself a pimp and indicating that the two professional women with you are whores is not a good way to get them rooting for you. The fact that they didnít call him out immediately doesnít mean it was okay; it means they wanted to get the job done Ė or perhaps were so appalled they didnít even know what to say! Nobody should have to tell a professional businessperson that this was not the way to act.
Another thing a negotiator shouldnít do is monopolize the conversation. Several times we saw John talking about himself rather than talking to the musicians. Even worse, he repeatedly cut off his teammates in front of the person with whom they were negotiating! I have to tell you, I work with somebody who does this all the time. It is beyond annoying. Itís bad enough when somebody does this internally, but to do it in a meeting with other people? Itís not only rude, but embarrassing.
So why, as John wondered in the Boardroom, didnít Erin and Stephanie object to this behavior at the time? Again, they probably didnít want to cause a rift in the middle of the task. John should not have needed anybody to tell him that what he was doing was wrong.
You might be thinking Iíve gone off on a tangent here, but this all continues to relate back to leadership. A good leader needs to recognize what he or she is good at. John thought he was good at these things, but we saw otherwise. Yes, he put himself out there in the line of fire, but he had nothing to back up his boasting.
So letís move on to the second rule, staying cool under fire. John did a good job of this, both in challenges and in the Boardroom. The only time I can recall him getting particularly upset was in dealing with Audrey. At the time, it seemed like that was just a John-Audrey thing. Now we have to wonder if it was a more general John-woman thing.
In any case, even when John was being attacked in the Boardroom, he kept calm and stated his case. Contrast this to Chris, who got defensive and actually started yelling at George and Carolyn! Somehow, Chris overcame that and turned the tide back against John.
John also did fine in the third rule, having a backbone. John was certainly confident in himself Ė as weíve already discussed, perhaps more confident than he should have been. He defended himself well in the Boardroom and stood up for his ideas. No problems here.
Fourth is a reminder that scheming and plotting usually donít work, but you shouldnít show your hand. John knew that the women would gang up on him. Damn those whores, turning on their pimp like that! The fact is that he set himself up as such a chauvinist that itís no wonder they were gunning for him! He talked to Chris, and both agreed that there would be no alliance between them in the Boardroom. Smart thinking.
However, John had an opportunity to take a shot at Chris in the Boardroom, and he failed to use it. When Trump & Co. asked the question of whether Chris could have done negotiating and production, both Erin and John agreed that he could not have. Trump even pointed out that they were exonerating Chris! For Erin, this was fine. But John was the alternate target. He needed to realize this and make some attempt to portray Chris as shirking his duties.
The fifth rule is where John really fell apart: Play well with others, but stay professional. John did neither. In this episode, John acted like a male chauvinist pig. Maybe he thought he was being funny. Maybe he thought bringing pretty ladies along would indeed help negotiations. But his teammates were not props, and they did not appreciate being treated as such.
We saw glimpses of this behavior the previous week, when he kept telling Audrey that she was pretty and had a nice personality and would therefore go far. She insisted she had a brain, but we didnít really see any sign of it and it was therefore easy to ignore her and side with John. This time, however, his statements and actions were so over-the-top and so broad (no pun intended) that it came out of the TV and slapped the viewer upside the head. I canít imagine, after seeing that, any woman wanting to work with John.
Sixth is to focus on the long-term. By stepping up and taking the lead in negotiations, John was trying to show Donald Trump that he was a leader and worth watching. This was smart. However, the flipside is that John treated his teammates like dirt. This is not smart, especially in the long-term. Even if John had managed to squeak by this time, he had put himself in a situation where he would have been on a team with three women, all of whom he had insulted. The fact is that he would have been a target and it is unlikely that he could have made it to the end under such circumstances.
Weíve already talked somewhat about Johnís negotiations. But now weíre at the seventh rule, thinking outside the box. John failed here as well. The other team had some great packages, including spending a week with the musician or appearing in a music video or on TV with them. Johnís big idea? Have the band play a concert at somebodyís house. Oooh, how original. Whatís worse is that he used the same idea over and over again! John failed to think big, and it cost him.
The eighth rule says you canít be one-dimensional, meaning contestants canít just be good salespeople, good lawyers, etc. John tried to show that he had multiple talents and was a good leader on top of it. However, as weíve discussed, he failed.
Finally, we come to the use of common sense. Weíve already addressed many of things that any person should know better than to do Ė interrupting, talking about yourself, being rude, being sexist, being a jerk, etc. Either John didnít know better, or he thought he was being funny in many of these cases. If it was the latter, he was definitely wrong.
Before we wrap this all up, I want to address an item about Chris, who was likely to get fired if John hadnít been. There was a lot of talk about Chris delegating the important negotiation task. But letís not forget that Kendra also delegated that task on the other team Ė and they won. There were two important tasks, and both project managers independently agreed on which one needed their attention most, so I find it hard to criticize Chris for this decision.
John stepped up to say he could do the negotiating, but he did a poor job. In fact, he did such a poor job (which includes not just the negotiating itself but the way he treated his coworkers) that even Chris yelling at Carolyn and George did not turn the tide. John could not back up his claims with action; he could not back up his attitude with accomplishment. That is why John lost.
If you havenít already, be sure to check out the Apprentice 3 Episode 8 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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