The Apprentice 3: Why Angie Lostby David Bloomberg -- 04/08/2005
Angie has been on the losing team for weeks on end. But so has Chris. Angie screwed up in the clothing line design challenge. But so did Chris. So why did Donald Trump choose to fire Angie this time instead of Chris? Why did Angie lose?
We all know how we’re going to find the answer to that question – by looking back at What ‘Apprentice 3’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see what Angie did right and where she went so wrong.
The first, and most important, rule is always to show leadership. Angie had of course led her team – to victory in the coffee task, and to a loss in the Home Depot task. In the latter, she managed to get Erin fired by blaming her for checking out immediately while deflecting blame for not, as Project Manager, getting Erin more involved. But while that blame might have been deflected temporarily – which was helped by Erin smarting off to Donald Trump – there is no way Trump would forget it.
Angie also helped him remember, because one of the main reasons they lost the Home Depot challenge was that their presentation sucked. And who led their Home Depot presentation? Angie. Who volunteered to do the clothing line presentation? Angie. I think we have a pattern.
While Angie was not the Project Manager this time around, she was in charge of the presentation and all the preparations leading up to the presentation. She needed to take the leadership role within that area of responsibility. So if she thought they were going to be late, she should not have waited for Alex to tell them to be ready to leave. If the models hadn’t arrived, she shouldn’t have waited for Alex to go look for them. If the models had multiple outfits, she should have made sure they were all accounted for.
Most importantly, if she couldn’t handle it, she needed to tell Alex. In the real world, some managers give an assignment and then constantly check up on it. Others give an assignment and figure that unless they hear from you, you’re okay and working on it. I tend to be of the latter school of thought, and it looks like Alex is as well.
Angie was in charge of the presentation. From what we saw, she never told him she was overworked; she never told him she couldn’t get it all done; she never told him she needed help. Sure, he could have hovered over her and micromanaged her, but then she likely would have complained about that. Instead, she waited until she got to the Boardroom to complain about having too much to do. That is not only a bad decision, it’s also poor leadership within her area of responsibility.
In some ways, though, that pales compared to her failure in the second rule, staying cool under fire. In the words of Donald Trump, Angie “choked.” She became flustered with everything going on around her and she was unable to give even a half-decent presentation. It was bad.
But beyond that, she choked in the Boardroom as well. She let the two guys gang up on her and couldn’t seem to ever fight back. Then it seemed she thought that Trump wanted her to accept blame, so she meekly did so. Maybe that is what Trump wanted, but she still got fired! Instead of simply accepting the blame, she needed to go on the offensive. As the rule says, “If somebody fires on you in the Boardroom, you’d better be prepared to fire back.” Angie only got off a couple of weak and poorly-aimed shots.
Angie needed to do a better job of explaining that they only had three people left, and 1/3 of their staff was sitting on his ass at Best Buy because he lost a credit card. If he had been around, he could have helped prepare and maybe she wouldn’t have been so flustered.
Also, the Project Manager should have realized that she was overworked and understaffed and done something to help out (yes, I know I just said above that she should have raised that herself to him, but she didn’t need to acknowledge that while fighting for her game life in the Boardroom). And besides that, her Project Manager didn’t do market research from what we saw, and so even if they’d had a great presentation, they likely still would have lost because people are more interested in carrying around cell phones than strapping a laptop to their backs.
But Angie did none of these things. She cracked under the pressure of the Boardroom just as she did in the presentation.
It might seem that this leads directly into the third rule, having a backbone, and concluding that Angie didn’t. However, that’s not really the case. Angie did stand up for herself throughout her time on the show. For example, after the Home Depot loss she went on the attack against Erin and helped get Erin fired, even though Erin had previously done well in the Boardroom.
I think that if Angie had wanted to stand up for herself during this challenge, she could have. But I don’t believe she wanted to tell Alex that she couldn’t handle it all, so she just kept on doing and only tried to blame him in the Boardroom when it was too late.
The fourth rule reminds contestants that scheming and plotting usually don’t work. In this case, there was no hint of such activity, in large part because they were down to three people, all of whom would end up facing the firing squad.
Fifth is to play well with others, but stay professional. Generally it seemed that Angie did fine in this department, so we’ll move on.
The sixth rule says to focus on the long-term. This may have been difficult for Angie to do, because every week she seemed to be heading back to fight for her life in the Boardroom. Once you’ve gotten to the point where Donald Trump flat-out calls you a “loser,” your long-term prospects are pretty dim. You have to somehow distinguish yourself from your team and show that you were not responsible for any of the losses in order to have a long-term shot. Angie didn’t do that, in large part because she was responsible for some of the losses.
Seventh is to think outside the box, but not too far. While I have to admit that clothing for carrying laptops is outside the box, I think it went too far. Furthermore, Angie and her teammates never really figured out where “the box” was, from what we saw. They didn’t even know that cell phones were the most important piece of electronic equipment for most people. Was it Angie’s responsibility? That’s not really clear. It might have been Chris’, who was supposed to buy the electronics. It might have been Alex’s, who as the Project Manager. But Angie did not appear to bring that up as a major point in the Boardroom, and she should have.
The eighth rule says players cannot be one-dimensional. However, I want to take a moment to look at just one dimension of Angie – her presentation skills.
As we’ve already discussed, the Home Depot task was lost in large part because of the presentation. Angie was in charge of that task and decided what item they would feature in the presentation. She also failed to assign the person most likely to do a good job in presenting, Erin. This time around, she was again in charge of the presentation, and once again she failed. One part of working for Donald Trump is certainly that the successful applicant will need to be able to present ideas and projects to both internal and external groups. Angie showed that she could not necessarily be relied upon to do that, especially in high-pressure situations. Without that ability, she was not versatile enough to work for Trump.
Finally, we come to the rule that says players should use common sense. Frankly, the entire team failed in this one, and we’ve already gone over some of those screw-ups. Still, we’ve seen some egregious lack of common sense over the course of the season, and in comparison this week looked pretty good.
It came down to a decision between Angie and Chris. Alex had not done a good job as Project Manager, but Trump was still allowing him some latitude due to his earlier successes. Personally, I believe Chris should have been fired, but it was a close race. It seems that in this case, doing nothing was preferable to doing something poorly.
And that is where we find ourselves. Angie volunteered to do the presentation and all that was associated with it. She choked. Badly. She followed that up by choking badly again in the Boardroom. In baseball you get three strikes. In The Apprentice, you only get two chokes, and she was out. That is why Angie lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Apprentice 3 Episode 11 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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