The Apprentice 3 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 15: Negativityby Mike DeGeorge -- 05/11/2005
We’re going to do things a little differently this week, for reasons which will become clear soon enough. Turning the format on it’s head, let’s begin with the applicant fired this week, Craig.
Craig: Let’s face it, I haven’t liked you in a while, and I can hardly say that I’m upset that you were fired. In fact, one might say that I was actively HOPING for it. I still think the only thing that kept you around was that your team won so often. I’ll admit, one of those wins was directly attributed to you – the Home Depot task. No, I won’t give you credit for doing no research at Staples and simply taking your teammates’ thoughts and shaping them into a lazy susan.
But I have to echo the sentiments from David Bloomberg’s Why Craig Lost article. Craig is an excellent idea man, but he is by no means a leader or good communicator. His style might work fine in an entrepreneurial capacity, but it just plain doesn’t work in a big business, office environment.
Kendra and Tana: Well, we finally have the finale I predicted after episode 9. One thing I’ve learned from my email in the past few weeks, Tana vs. Kendra has become a miniature (very VERY miniature) version of Ruben vs. Clay. Every argument by one side is countered by a negative statement about the other. There are three schools of thought here (and sorry, Craig, I’m generalizing):
So I am going to go through my email for the past few weeks (ever since I started really pushing for Kendra, basically) and go into the various arguments. I’m not going to go into the first half of their projects very much because neither of them looked impressive, most of their problems could be traced to their teams, and besides, in both previous seasons, the final task has predicted doom and gloom for all the finalists and it usually gets worked out more quickly than a Brown Hornet cartoon. Remember when Kelly couldn’t paint the logo on the field? Or when Bill had a problem with where to store the gift bags? Or when Jessica Simpson went missing? Granted, that’s not a problem, but you see what I mean.
Kendra is too young, immature, and whiny, not management material: Yeah, she’s young. Your point? Saying that she hasn’t “earned it” when she made it to the finals is pure stupidity. As for being immature, well, she didn’t get all giggly about a freakin’ Bedazzler, did she? Whiny, yes, and I do agree that she needs to lose that bottle of nail polish QUICKLY.
Look, Kendra has the goods. She came up with the marketing ideas that won two challenges (mini-golf and pizza), led her team to another victory (the celebrity auction), and won a fourth all by herself (Pontiac). Some might say this last task showed poor leadership, but Kendra made a choice between banging her head against the wall all night trying to get through to an unmotivated Tana and Craig, or she could have done what she did – roll up her sleeves and kick ass.
On the contrary, it’s the Pontiac task that convinced me that I would never, EVER hire Tana. She had NOTHING to lose that week. She had immunity, and could have cared less if her team won or lost. If that wasn’t the case, she sure acted like it, contributing nothing and ditching the task early to sleep while her manager worked all night. Hire an employee like that if you want, and watch helplessly as her car drives off while you’re on a deadline without her help. You want the ones who are willing to pitch in if you need them to.
Tana is down-to-earth and friendly: I don’t see these people skills you speak of. People started talking about what a great people person Tana is after the celebrity auction task, where she used “street lingo” to talk to the celebrities. I thought this was horribly offensive and condescending, not to mention fake. Just look at when Tana met her team in the parking garage this week: she had a huge smile plastered on her face as she kept saying “Great! Great!” through clenched teeth. Maybe it wasn’t obvious to anyone else, but to me, she might as well have had “I really don’t want to be with these people!” flashing over her head like the “MILF” sign in the auction broadcast.
I had an in-law at one point (the relative is no longer married, so we’re no longer related, I hope) who acted nice and friendly as can be. She looked you in the eyes, smiled, nodded, and said things like “Really!” and “Mmm huh!” when you paused. You might think this would make her a good listener, but after a while (like ten minutes) I wondered if she was really listening to what I was saying or just waiting for the pauses. Tana reminds me of this woman.
Kendra is too no-nonsense, and doesn’t have people skills: I believe people think this because we’ve spent the last three episodes seeing her argue with Craig. She’s not the best communicator in the world, but as I’ve said, she makes up for it in other ways. I’m the type who would much rather get to it without all the chit-chat. Some of my co-workers can’t seem to function without a half-hour gossip break every hour. I don’t see this as a positive.
Tana is a great leader who can get her team to follow her: I said before that she’s got a certain charm that makes people want to work hard for her. At the same time, I said that she lacks a killer instinct. Lately, I think the second point overwhelms the first. In a business situation where you want someone to like you – such as sales – I think Tana would be outstanding. Running a golf course or constructing a building, it’s an asset, but I don’t think it makes the difference.
Let me put it bluntly, here. Every single negative comment I’ve seen about Kendra has more to do with her personality than her business prowess. That was true of Craig, yes, but Craig did not have two of the executives recommending him this week, and Craig is also a jerk. Tana may be 11 years older than Kendra, but I don’t see her being that much more mature, judging by her giggling fits and her seeming problem with letting cute sparkly things override her better business judgment. And some may be offended by this, but why would Trump want to hire an older, non-college educated woman with kids for a high-pressure, 100-hour-plus per week in a new city? I’d want a younger woman with fewer attachments. That’s not being ageist or chauvinistic, it’s being realistic.
It comes down to a simple balance sheet (for us Accountants, it always does): Kendra is willing to learn and, more importantly, willing work her butt off. She’s young, which means she wouldn’t have as many preconceived ideas, and she’s got great ideas and is a proven winner on her own sweat and effort. Tana makes poor decisions, such as taking 90 minute trips for beads and heading home to sleep and leaving her manager in the lurch. She’s over-emotional, fake, and giggly – which probably won’t enter into Trump’s decision, but helps to explain why I don’t like her. Bottom line, I’m just not impressed by her abilities. She’s yet to show me she has what it takes to run a company.
They both suck: Ah, now we’re down to it. I’ve been taken to task a lot this season and last for my negativity, but an equal number of emailers have thanked me for telling it as it is. The contestants haven’t been as good, but that’s minor. Just as there will never be another Rich or Rudy, there will never be another Bill or Troy. The big problem is with the writers and producers, or perhaps even Trump himself. I’ve said it a million times, but it seems more effort was put into getting sponsors than coming up with interesting tasks. “Hey, we’ve got Domino’s, what kind of task can we build around them?” It’s just not interesting, and I’m thankful that I don’t have to write these columns again for a while.
Mike DeGeorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and has almost ten years of management experience. He is also Associate Editor of RNO. Email Mike at email@example.com.
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