The Apprentice 4: Why Kristi Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/26/2005
When Kristi and Jennifer went to the Boardroom to face Donald Trump, I thought the outcome would be the same as it was when Jim and Jennifer went to the Conference Room to face Martha Stewart the night before – Jennifer the Project Manager would go home packing. But while Stewart chose to blame Jennifer for not being able to control Jim, Trump went the other direction and blamed Kristi for being uncontrollable. What caused him to lean in this direction? Why did Kristi lose?
We’ll have to take a good long look at this one, because I think Trump made the wrong decision (in part, this is because I think Martha made the right decision when faced with a similar situation, as I discussed in Why Jennifer Lost). That’s not to say that Kristi was a great employee, just that I think Jennifer deserved to be fired. But it’s not up to me, so let’s look back at What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see why Trump made this decision.
The first rule says applicants should show leadership. I actually started to write this section with Jennifer in mind as the loser, because I thought she should have been. And, let’s face it, Jennifer did not exactly do a great job here, to say the least. She had problems with Kristi, she didn’t really think about how the float would look until it was done, she decided at the last minute to take half the team shopping rather than staying to make sure the float was done, and she did a horrible job leading the presentation.
However, it’s not like Kristi did a better job. She did volunteer to lead the very first task, which was a mark in her favor. However, she blew it, which was a mark against her. Ironically, Melissa was fired in that first episode because she acted out and didn’t get along with her team. This time around, it was Kristi’s turn. But more importantly, Kristi screwed up the marketing in that task, basing it on flyers that looked more like strip club ads than anything else. So her stint as a leader was possibly even worse than Jennifer’s.
In general, Kristi stayed cool under fire, abiding by the second rule. I wouldn’t say she did a great job of it, but at least she didn’t fall apart when there were problems in the task or in the Boardroom.
The third rule is to have a backbone. Considering that one of the most-used descriptions of Kristi was that she was “bossy,” I don’t think lack of a backbone was an issue.
Moving on to the fourth rule, we see the advice that scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. Kristi is a good example of this. She was in the group of women who had targeted Toral previously – specifically, she was allied with Jennifer and Alla. That didn’t last long here, because without Toral to draw attention, people saw how Kristi was behaving – or should I say, they were reminded of it, since she had exhibited similar behavior earlier in the show. Kristi’s little clique helped keep her out of the limelight for a while, but in the end it was her performance that determined it was time to go, not her alliance.
A big part of the reason for that stems from her failure to follow the fifth rule, playing well with others. As already mentioned, Kristi was bossy and sometimes just wouldn’t shut up. Even after Jennifer talked to her, there wasn’t a marked improvement in her behavior, and it ticked off her cohorts. As the rule notes, if “ you at least appear to be nice to people, they are less likely to blame you for things, less likely to single you out for bad tasks, and less likely to call you into the Boardroom.” It’s not that Kristi was mean, like Omarosa, but she just was not getting along with everybody else. And like the rule said, she was blamed and brought into the Boardroom.
Once in the Boardroom, Trump heard from several people about her behavior. What I believe may have been the clincher was when he asked Randal, the newest member of the team, who he would fire. Randal said it depended on whether team dynamic was the key point. When told it was, he said Kristi should be fired.
Her behavior also indicated that she was not thinking for the long-term. Kristi needed to show herself to be a valued team member. In this particular task, for example, she needed to give her ideas, help out, and shut up. If she hadn’t acted out, Jennifer would have been gone – without a doubt. But, frankly, I’m not sure Kristi was thinking at all, so thinking for the long-term might have been asking a bit much.
Seventh is to understand the challenge. The whole team failed in this one, but Jennifer did especially. I know this article is about why Kristi lost, but since I think it should have been Jennifer, I also want to address her.
The challenge could not have been spelled out better to them. They were told that the pronunciation of the movie’s name was key. They were told flat-out to incorporate the name of the movie in the float. But Jennifer repeatedly mispronounced the name and they only included the name in two places on the float – one of which was the back (this is particularly ironic given that Jennifer was the one who encouraged her team to put brand identification on the Dairy Queen mascot). Carolyn even noted that they missed all the criteria they were given. The entire team deserves some blame for this, but most of it has to fall squarely on Jennifer. Carolyn and Bill both agreed that Kristi was not the reason they lost this challenge.
The eighth rule says to be creative but not insane. The guys had a creative float that incorporated all the aspects of the movie. The women (and Randal) were not nearly as creative, instead putting together a bit of a confused mess. Once again, primary blame has to be placed on Jennifer, not Kristi.
Ninth is to not be one-dimensional. Kristi had not particularly shown a wide variety of talents that culminated with her ability to lead, so this certainly played against her. As we’ve already mentioned, her idea of “marketing” in the first task was to hand out flyers. Whoopee!
Finally, we have the rule that says contestants should use common sense. As you might have guessed, Kristi did not use much in the way of common sense in the way she behaved. However, we’ve already discussed that point. Let’s not repeat ourselves.
This was not an easy call for Trump – in fact, I expected a double-elimination. Neither candidate did well, and both had problems of one sort or another. Both Carolyn and Bill told Trump that Kristi was not the reason the team lost, and I agree. But Trump was obviously more focused on overall team unity. Kristi had admitted to Randal that she sometimes talked without listening. She was bossy. She caused problems. She was difficult to work with. The women as a whole have had a problem getting along with one another, and Kristi was the latest example.
In the end, I still disagree with Trump’s decision to fire Kristi instead of Jennifer. But as we have seen, there are plenty of reasons to explain why Kristi lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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