The Apprentice 4 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 3by Brian Towers -- 10/10/2005
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!
Excel: Team Excel performed well this week on what was a deceptively difficult task. Well done! Again this week, the episode focused on a few key players on this team. Therefore, I have nothing to say about James this week, and not much for some of the others. Some of these guys need to increase their visibility, because I don’t think a “Kendra” style game can win again.
Clay: Clay has made himself the team outcast. First, he insulted George about his age, and on top of that, he didn’t seem to realize it. For those who can’t tell, George is about a generation younger than the folks in the focus group. Secondly, he stuck his neck out by distancing himself from a team decision with George present. Those were two bad things he did in a very short time frame, indicating he speaks without thinking. I must give Clay a rating of NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.
Markus: At the outset of the show, Markus was still an outsider on this team, as witnessed by his incredibly lukewarm reception after escaping elimination. However, at the end, in the boardroom they made a show of being behind him. He knew to hold his tongue in front of The Donald this week.
Importantly, he did an excellent job with the TiVo demo, including his handling of “doubting Jacob” and his wandering attention. I’m not sure about the “turd in the pool” line, but it was funny. I’m upgrading his rating this week to GOOD.
Adam: We’re not seeing a lot of Adam, but this week he worked on the photo station. The idea of giving the seniors quality photos in an instant was a good one. I’m not sure if it was Adam’s idea, but he seemed to make it a fun event. SATISFACTORY.
Brian: We’re not seeing a lot of Brian, either. He worked on the Internet station, and from what we could see, he also had a good rapport with the seniors. His rating is also SATISFACTORY.
Josh: It was Josh that approached Markus after he came back from the boardroom to have it said out loud that they would start fresh tomorrow. These were necessary steps for team unity. GOOD.
Mark: When Mark called Clay’s behavior in front of George “contrived,” it was a timely and professional rebuke. GOOD.
Randal: In week one, the men said they wouldn’t be granting an exemption to their winning PMs unless they were significant contributors to the win. After leading his team to an impressive victory, Randal was given exemption quickly and unanimously. He also quickly called out Clay for not being “constructive.” Randal has a lot of respect from his peers and must be considered an early threat to win the whole shootin’ match. Rating - EXCELLENT.
Capital Edge: Wow, train wreck! This team is in almost as much disarray as the female team on The Biggest Loser 2, and that is a scary thought. There are two clear-cut camps, and Toral and Rebecca are definitely a minority that is held in low regard by the rest of the team.
My one comment is, if everyone saw that Toral was having trouble with her demo, was no one available to step in and assist?
Jen M: Jennifer was one of those who gave demos that worked. I’m sure her ratings were much more than the team average of 7.9 out of 10. She felt a little uncomfortable using her good looks to get better scores, so hopefully the “sex” card can remain essentially unplayed this year. She did not deserve being called back into the boardroom. I give her a GOOD rating.
Marshawn: In the boardroom, when Toral initially defended Rebecca’s leadership and tried to lay the blame on technical inadequacies, Marshawn quickly pointed out that the only one who had such problems was Toral. However (and this was not clear from the show) she seemed to be working with or near Toral and didn’t call in the PM to resolve the problems. SATISFACTORY.
Alla, Felisha, Kristi: As the three of them stood apart from functional activity in Best Buy, slamming the PM and agreeing with each other when Alla said, “We have a good chance of failing…” well, that’s not good. They weren’t jazzed by this task? Well, then, they probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the reward, either.
In this show you need to work hard no matter who’s the PM, and instead of criticizing them, back them up and support them. Had they done so, they could have brought that out in the boardroom and achieved their desired result of seeing Rebecca fired. The rating for all three is NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.
Rebecca: Let me begin by saying that Rebecca ought to have been fired this week. Her undying support of Toral went way past loyalty and Rebecca’s decision not to bring her friend Toral back to the boardroom was based on friendship alone. Trump called her “inflexible” and “hard-headed.” Well, the same move cost Chris dearly last week, and it ought to have been the end of Rebecca this time out.
I do admire her stepping up to be the PM, but perhaps that was a mistake, too. She really ought to have taken a lesser role this week while her ankle is healing initially.
Her team felt she was talking down to them, and I agree. Alla called her style “abrasive.” Rebecca is only 23; some of these women are ten years older than her with vast experience, and there’s no call to be using the “second-grader” tone with them.
The Donald’s message this week was “Inspire.” It’s safe to say that Rebecca only inspired Toral. She lost the respect of most of her team during the task, and cemented that loss of respect in the boardroom. In one week, Rebecca has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse! UNSATISFACTORY!
Toral: Toral was saved by her buddy Rebecca this week, for had she been brought into the boardroom, The Donald told us she would have been sent home. In an aside, I applaud Trump for sticking to the “rules” of the game and not calling her back to the boardroom.
I don’t think her biggest failure was that Toral was unable to perform her demo. It was that she denied it in the boardroom when Carolyn and others knew the real story. Why, she couldn’t even “fake it,” which is most certainly a valid skill when you’re doing a live presentation. The final results were so close that I am sure Toral’s weak and confusing presentations cost her team the victory.
I’m glad she went to one of the finest business schools, but didn’t we learn last season that book smarts must be augmented by street smarts for true success? Is that where she learned to identify for the boss that the other player’s résumés contain “very unimpressive work experience, poor professional education...”? And that list of primarily incorrect negatives would have continued, had Carolyn not interrupted. Which of the other self-made millionaires in that room was she referring to?
Everyone except Rebecca sees Toral as the weakest link on the team. NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. Lots!
Jen W: I’m glad she “likes to work with old people.” Maybe she and Clay can compare notes. It’s hard to believe she has “event planning” on her résumé. We “old people” like colors, you know… and signs with big, readable letters! But there were bigger issues.
Everything Carolyn didn’t like about the setup was true. An undetected spelling error on the cake? That should never have happened, though there were many who could have seen that before Carolyn did, including PM Rebecca.
And if Jen had watched the Martha Stewart version of this show last week, she’d know that “women in business do not cry!” Well, in her defense, that wasn’t just crying, that was full-blown histrionics! Had Jen survived the boardroom, I’d have also given her a big NEEDS IMPROVEMENT rating this week. So would Martha!
And finally… Donald Trump Well, he likes Jennifer M. because she’s beautiful, and he likes Toral because she went to “the right school” (quotes mine), and he likes Rebecca because of some odd definition of loyalty. Three strikes!
He thought Rebecca should have brought Toral back to the boardroom, just because she’s not popular, but didn’t hold it against her when she didn’t? Inconsistency! After all, the margin of defeat was so small - was it the cookies? NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.
Well, at least George and Carolyn had strong weeks! Carolyn hit on all of Jen W.’s shortcomings, and George saw Rebecca as the bigger problem. EXCELLENT.
Well, those are the performance reviews for week three. I’ll be back next week with a fresh look at our candidates’ latest escapades. Hopefully there’s no reason to critique Mr. Trump again!
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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