The Apprentice: Los Angeles – Why Muna Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/23/2007
Throughout most of the competition, Muna seemed like a good, solid worker. Then we started getting hints otherwise. And this week, those hints turned into full-blown accusations. What happened to the Muna we all knew and loved? Why did Muna lose?
By now you know how we’ll answer this all-important question – by looking back at What ‘The Apprentice: Los Angeles’ Applicants Should Have Learned and using it as a guide. So let’s get to it!
The most important thing Donald Trump is looking for in an Apprentice is summed up in the first rule – leadership. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: This season’s rule that keeps winning project managers in charge makes it more difficult for contestants to show the kind of leadership Trump wants. But difficult is not the same thing as impossible. Muna had several opportunities to step up and become the project manager. She didn’t.
OK, but the rule also notes that even when not the project manager, players should show leadership where they can. I cannot recall Muna really strutting her stuff in those areas either. Recently, it seemed she was more concerned with nitpicky details than anything else.
In the GNC challenge, last week, Muna spent so much time focusing on apparently unimportant details that she drove the prop guys to distraction. This was micromanaging at its worst, and certainly no way to show good leadership.
This week, Kristine actually gave Muna the opportunity to take a leadership role of sorts. She could have worked behind the camera, which apparently would have involved ensuring everybody was on the right schedule and keeping things going. But that’s not what Muna wanted to do. She wanted to be a star! She wanted to be in the spotlight! The problem is that sometimes being in the spotlight focuses a lot more attention on you.
When that attention hits, you need to make sure you follow the second rule, staying cool under fire. Muna failed in a couple ways. In the task, she was apparently nervous and started talking too fast. This made her already-accented speaking incredibly difficult to understand. In turn, that led to wholesale cutting of scenes, making the finished webisode a failure. See what happens when you don’t follow this rule?!
In the Boardroom, Muna also made a mistake in this area. She seemed to let the pressure get to her there as well, and made the bold move of asking Heidi who she would fire. It may seem odd that I classify this error under the second rule, but Muna should have handled it differently. Let Trump ask the questions. Jumping in and asking it for him indicated to me that she felt nervous and was trying to do something – anything – to get out of the situation. That, my friends, is letting the pressure get to you.
At least we know Muna succeeded in the third rule, having a backbone. After all, when Kristine gave her the work assignment, Muna essentially said no. And she did stand up for herself in the Boardroom – she just didn’t do it correctly.
The fourth rule reminds contestants that scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. Here we saw one big reason why. Muna had apparently talked to Heidi and was certain she would pick Muna as the one to keep – so sure, she essentially staked her entire game on it. But as we know, that’s not what Heidi did at all. Just because you talk to somebody outside the Boardroom, it doesn’t mean they’ll carry through in the Boardroom. It was a bad bet.
Fifth is to play well with others. While Kristine does not exactly seem like the model of a calm leader – what with her visions of slamming Muna’s head into a table and the like – that doesn’t mean it’s okay if she gets pissed off. Muna just kept clashing with her, over and over again. Who the heck did she think would get the blame if they lost? The answer was obvious.
This also speaks somewhat to the sixth rule, focusing on the long-term. Muna kept worrying so much about little details that she missed the big picture. Part of the big picture was that repeatedly rubbing the project manager the wrong way was not the right way to stay in the game. Another part was that Trump is not looking to hire somebody who knows exactly how many staples are in a prop, but how to get the prop guys working effectively. She was using a microscope when she needed a wide-angle lens.
Ironically, the one time she needed to focus on some important details, she didn’t. If she had truly understood the point of her last challenge, she would have known that the most important feature was communicating the product information. Note the word, “communicating.” Muna has got to understand that she has an accent. That could immediately cause a problem. And if she knows herself at all, she should also know that when she speaks quickly, the accent gets worse.
So Muna focused on nitpicky details at other times, but showed an incredible lack of self-awareness. Let me give you an example. I know that I have a loud voice. If people at work want to find me, they just listen for me. So I, for example, would be a bad person to use in a task that involved, say, whispering secrets. I know this. Similarly, Muna should have known that she was not the person to be communicating ideas. Yet that’s exactly the role she pushed for.
The eighth rule says players should be creative. Honestly, I cannot think of a time when we really saw Muna exhibiting this quality. This also plays into the ninth rule, warning against being one-dimensional. I’m sure Muna is smart and has other good qualities. Everybody agreed that she pays good attention to detail. But that’s simply not what Trump is looking for!
Finally, we arrive at the rule saying Apprentice wannabes need to use common sense. Certainly, Muna should have had the common sense not to push to be in front of the camera – but we’ve already addressed that. She also should have had enough common sense not to push Heidi to answer her question in the Boardroom, especially after Heidi hesitated the first time! But we’ve addressed that too.
So let’s sum up. Muna put herself into a bad position. She was so focused on minor details that she missed the big picture. More importantly, she pissed off the project manager and became the dreaded trouble employee. Even though Kristine made plenty of mistakes on this task, Muna did enough to allow Kristine to deflect blame. Muna should have followed her project manager’s direction, especially since Muna had no business being in the role of actress. By pushing to be in the webisode, she set up the situation where she failed and caused the whole task to crash with her. That is why Muna lost.
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David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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