The Apprentice: Los Angeles – Why Jenn Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/09/2007
Jenn was destined from the beginning of the Lexus task to be sent packing. She was even set up to take the fall before her team even knew what they would be doing – though ironically Derek was the one setting her up! Why was it such an obvious decision? Why did Jenn lose?
Maybe the decision wasn’t obvious after all. Indeed, Angela screwed up the signage. The creative team couldn’t come up with an idea. Derek had already been fired. But then again, I think as we walk ourselves through What ‘The Apprentice: Los Angeles’ Applicants Should Have Learned, we will find that Trump really didn’t have much of a decision here.
The first rule tells players they need to show leadership. Jenn did step up and volunteer to be project manager – which she pretty much needed to do, given Trump’s opinion of her after the previous task. But as Surya is showing us week after week, just being a project manager does not automatically make you a leader.
Jenn seemed to have problems with the most important aspect of being a project manager: managing. She assigned people to tasks, but then mostly just let them run free. When they screwed up, she was left holding the bag.
Don’t get me wrong – as a manager, I know that you can’t hover over your employees’ shoulders and follow their every move. But you also can’t just give them an assignment and a time when it’s due, and then ignore them until that time. You need to check back in on them occasionally to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Yet somehow, Jenn found her creative group at the three-hour-plus mark without a single creative idea! How the hell did it take them three hours to come up with nothing?! This put Jenn in the bad position of needing to pick some idea just to have something to do.
Then she allowed Angela and Derek to roam free on the signage – arguably one of the most important pieces of the task. She didn’t check in to make sure they held to their timelines, and sure enough, they didn’t.
The second rule says players need to stay cool under fire. In general, I think Jenn did. But I’m not sure if that’s because she knew her goose was cooked and she was okay with it or if she just didn’t know enough of what was going on to be worried! In the Boardroom, it was definitely the former. But I think during the task it was the latter.
Third is to have a backbone. I don’t think we ever really saw a case where Jenn failed to have a backbone – but I don’t think we ever really saw a case when she demonstrated she did have one either. So we’ll just say this had no effect and move on.
Jenn did fall prey to the fourth rule, which says scheming and plotting usually don’t work, but you also shouldn’t show your hand. Jenn did tell Angela that she would be taking her to the Boardroom, which gave Angela time to prepare a defense. Not smart, Jenn! Sure, Derek was already gunning for Jenn, but that doesn’t mean Jenn should have revealed what she was thinking.
Fifth is to play well with others. Jenn seemed to do fine in this regard, though Derek obviously had it in for her. I don’t think that was her personality, though, so much as Derek just thinking she was a weak link. So this one didn’t apply.
Did Jenn focus on the long-term, as the sixth rule advises? I guess the better question is if Jenn focused on anything. I don’t think she did – or if she did, we sure didn’t see it.
The seventh thing we need to look at is if Jenn understood the challenge. In a word: No.
As I noted in Why Derek Lost: “It’s not terribly clear if anybody on Kinetic really got it on this one. Lexus is a luxury brand. That’s what people were expecting. Go-carts? No. Magicians? No. Arrow had it exactly right. Kinetic had it exactly wrong.” What made it worse was that Jenn was the manager of this pack of know-nothings! And she actually made the final decision to use the go-carts and the magician.
A large part of this stems from Jenn’s failure in the eighth rule, which says to be creative. Arrow was creative enough to figure out ways for people to try out the Lexus’ functions and even drive it a bit. Kinetic, led by Jenn, mostly just sat around. At some point, a bell should have gone off in Jenn’s head that said, “We don’t need a tacky gimmick.” Unfortunately, that never happened.
The ninth rule says players cannot be one-dimensional. Jenn didn’t really show many dimensions at all. She was supposed to be great at giving presentations, but she blew this one. She was supposed to be the project manager, but she blew that as well. She seemed to be nice enough. Does that count as a dimension? Probably not in Trump’s world.
Finally, we get to the rule that tells people to use common sense. Lexus is a luxury brand. The players knew they would be dealing with special Lexus customers – as opposed to just average joes off the street. Therefore, they should have done what Arrow did and catered to a luxury theme. Instead, they had go-carts and a magician. Hello? Anybody home? Apparently, there was no common sense to be had here.
By the time Trump fired Jenn, even she saw it coming. She had to know she screwed up and there was really no place else to pin the blame. Sure, she could have tried to stick it to Angela, but that was unlikely to work (and she gave Angela time to prepare a defense). She could have tried to blame the already-departed Derek, but Trump already said firing him was not enough. So she was pretty much the only one left.
Jenn failed as a project manager. She had no control over the people she assigned to tasks – and it wasn’t because they were rebellious, but because she apparently just didn’t try to exert any. Then she found herself in a bad place with no creative ideas, and had to choose ideas that simply did not go along with the theme. Jenn put herself into a bad position, and then made it worse. That is why Jenn lost.
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David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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