The Apprentice 4 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 2by Brian Towers -- 09/30/2005
As I mentioned last week, this series of articles focuses on the business actions of each player on The Apprentice. Toward that end, I’ll be giving a capsulated performance review of each applicant. Warning, a few comments on game play just might sneak in there, too!
Capital Edge: I was much less impressed with Capital Edge’s campaign than the two execs making the final call. I felt the opening was hokey and the “Do you need permission? Prove it!” line was a weak closing. However, I never professed to be a marketing genius, and they are the customers!
Jennifer M.: Jennifer was one of three who produced the video, and the video was a big part of what the ad execs liked. She came up with the ad-closing “Ask permission” line, which they all liked, so I will give her a GOOD rating.
Kristi: Kristi was another of those who produced the video. She didn’t seem to understand that the video task was 50% (not 90%) of the total assignment, and she didn’t understand that – right or wrong – Marshawn felt the print task was at risk and needed more of her attention. I mean really, did she want Marshawn sitting over her shoulder all afternoon, is that what she wanted? I will give her a NEEDS WORK rating.
Alla: Although Alla thought she was doing an excellent job directing the video, she spoke down to one of the crew with the annoying, “Can you handle this, hello?” comment. She also got a barely-tolerant eye-roll from the videographer, who was very aware he was dealing with an amateur. Alla also gets a NEEDS WORK rating.
Felisha: We saw Felisha primarily working with Marshawn on the print campaign. It looked to me that she had things under control, and it was evident that the ad execs liked the print campaign. GOOD.
Marshawn: Marshawn led the winning team, so it’s hard to judge her too harshly. But she made one big mistake.
Perhaps what Marshawn saw while at the video shoot convinced her that the task was in good hands, and that the three blondes could handle the “editing” phase. However, she really ought to have been there for the startup of that task, to ensure they were all on the same page.
She did say on the phone that she would see the edited product before it was finished. Whether she did or not, we may never know. However, by then it may well have been too late to make significant changes if the task was going awry. Big risk – bad risk! And had they lost, Trump would have bounced her for that decision alone. She NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.
Rebecca: It’s hardly a business factor, but getting injured during a reward event was… unfortunate. It may become a factor, though, if it prevents her from contributing as fully as she might want to in a later challenge. Too bad she wasn’t on Martha’s version of the show – planting a garden is a much safer reward. Apparently, skating is harder than sprinting across a golf course. Between Biggest Loser, Survivor, and now this show, where did all these klutzy contestants come from? With nothing else to go on, I’ll assign a GOOD rating to Rebecca.
Toral: Toral was seen being honestly compassionate to injured Rebecca. This builds her a definite ally in the game. GOOD.
Jennifer W.: For the second week, I don’t have anything related to Jennifer W.
Excel: There seems to be a communication problem on this team. No, not the one between Markus and the rest, the problem is between your team and The Donald, George, and Carolyn.
The guys got really got beat up in the Boardroom. Their confidence was interpreted as cockiness. The disruptive efforts of Markus were never acknowledged. The fact that Markus did have his chances and blew them was never brought out, instead, George was convinced that Markus was “marginalized.” Most importantly, no one was able to stem the tide of constant criticism and get the focus back where they wanted it… on Markus.
I will say that conceptually, I thought the men’s video commercial was better, but a series of bad decisions related to the print ad were fatal.
This week, the episode focused on a few key players on this team. Therefore, I have nothing to say about Adam, Brian, or Josh.
Clay: Why was Clay present at the customer evaluation without a suit jacket? Dress for success! I give him a rating of NEEDS IMPROVEMENT in this small but significant area.
James: James had the stones to state, in the Boardroom, that Chris was his choice to be fired. This was significant because it seemed like everyone else was naming Markus. I give him a rating of GOOD for standing up for himself.
Markus: Last week, Markus seemed to be a “loveable loser;” but this week, he turned out to be dangerous. His inability to coordinate two cars was sad, and his @$$-kissing and face-making in the boardroom is beyond transparent.
He’s no team player. He could hardly wait to publicly distance himself from the team, and he began to do so right in from of the customer. Very bad!
There’s probably more, but I don’t want to focus any more on Markus because he’ll never see the end of the game. Rating – UNACCEPTABLE.
Mark: Wow, what a bunch of bad decisions Mark made on the print campaign! If he saw an ad that said “american Initiative,” how impressed would he be? Not very, I’d bet. And as soon as I saw “Green with envy,” I knew the implication would be that the Lamborghini was the envious one.
I could be wrong, but I’m assuming Mark was responsible for that lame script. That junk about “water rebirth” was just bafflegab!
Trump couldn’t have made it plainer that if Mark had been called into the Boardroom, he’d have been sent home. As it is, the black marks he got this week may not come off easily. Overall, NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.
Randal: We didn’t see business activity from Randal this week either, but the respect shown him by his teammates was obvious. They felt revived when he made it back to New York just in time for the presentation. I think there are a few players that have Randal’s back at this point. Rating – GOOD.
Chris: Chris started out this week doing an excellent job. He knew to meet with the ad execs right off the top, to learn what the client wanted. He knew the importance of entering that meeting with an open mind. He gave tasks to Markus, and only after he failed to perform at an acceptable level did Chris shut him down. Finally, Markus excluded, he unified the team toward the common goal.
His work at the presentation wasn’t the smoothest. But there were bigger issues.
Unfortunately, Chris lost the game in the Boardroom. Besides the points above, he didn’t listen when Trump showed he wasn’t about to fire Markus and saw Mark as the weak link in this project. Had he also brought Mark back into the Boardroom, I’d be rating Chris as NEEDS IMPROVEMENT… but The Donald “Trumped” my rating!
Well, those are the performance reviews for week two. I’ll be back next week with a fresh look at our candidates’ latest escapades!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Apprentice 4 Episode 2 recap:
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He spent a couple of decades working in middle management at The Prudential, primarily hiding behind the coffee machine to avoid his pointy-haired bosses. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!
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