The Apprentice 4 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 5by Brian Towers -- 10/25/2005
This series of articles primarily 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.
Excel: You folks might be getting tired of reading this line, but… “Team Excel performed well again this week.” They identified what the major components of the project were and then delivered them all.
With the exception of Markus, again they were cohesive and supportive. Too bad this unit will be broken up next week, it’s a pleasure watching them succeed.
Adam, Clay, Mark: NO RATING for these guys this week.
Brian: Brian was correct to marginalize Markus. Too bad Jen didn’t do the same with Kristi. He was also correct to pull Markus aside and try to get some work out of him, but it was too late in the day to have any real benefit – they were already in cleanup mode!
Brian recovered his mispronunciation of the movie name well, and most importantly, didn’t repeat the error.
In his presentation, he got overwhelmed with the sound of his own voice. It wasn’t as bad as Jennifer’s presentation, but it didn’t come across as very polished, either.
Bottom line, there were enough positives for Brian this week to get a GOOD rating.
James: James has taken Kendra’s idea of remaining invisible to a new level. As the teams are reformed next week, I hope someone remembers to pick him. NO RATING
Josh: It has to be frustrating to see Markus slacking off, but Josh made a big mistake in timing when he walked up to Markus and Brian to dump on Markus for not helping sweep the floor. He should have sensed the conversation he walked in on ought not be interrupted. Also, the tone of his attack was emotional and not very professional. NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.
Markus: It seems Markus has a hearing problem… when he hears something he doesn’t want to, he pretends he didn’t hear it and just shuffles away.
His work ethic is SO embarrassing that I must assume he’s the victim of a tough edit. However, I must rate on what we’re shown, so I’ll call his work HIGHLY UNSATISFACTORY.
Capital Edge Look out Ulong, you have competition for the not-so-coveted “worst team” award. The float was not good, nor was Jenn’s presentation. Worse, internal bickering and bad planning caused them to divert energies into unproductive actions. Last week, I wrote a-plenty about the importance of showing the client’s logos, and Jenn was the only one who seemed to know that. Further, later in the boardroom it was specifically pointed out to the ladies that their branding was insufficient.
Yet, they refused to learn the lesson. Did they think Trump was kidding? Minimally, the movie name should also have been on both sides of the float.
Alla: Alla was one of the three who had to finish off the float. In the boardroom, she correctly identified that Jen did start out well, and that the presentation was terrible. I’ll repeat her rating of SATISFACTORY from last week.
Felisha: Felisha was another who worked feverishly at the end to complete the float. That was good.
However, Felisha made one major mistake. Although Jen’s phone call came at a bad time, Felisha just hung up on her. That act alone earns her a NEEDS IMPROVEMENT rating.
Marshawn: Marshawn was the first one to speak out against Kristi in the boardroom. She also had a good sounds bite, saying, “Negativity is Kryptonte.” That’s exactly where this team is failing!
Marshawn is clearly the best of this bad lot, and her rating is GOOD.
Randal: Poor Randal wasn’t too happy about changing teams. His new team is so messed up, even vaunted Randal couldn’t fix it in one week. In fact, he can’t actually define the problem yet.
Jen was close to defining the problem – too many of them don’t treat each other with the same level of respect they demand from each other. But the respect Randal has from both teams was obvious. I give him a rating of GOOD.
Rebecca: Rebecca was a little less visible this week, and for her, that’s probably good news. She seemed to be fitting in better, so this week I rate her as SATISFACTORY.
Jen M: Lucky Jennifer, she could easily have been the one going home. Carolyn and Bill Rancic identified Jen as the primary reason the task failed, but Trump likes her too much.
She started out well this week. The way she enthusiastically stepped up and volunteered to be the PM was a positive thing.
But there was a lot of downside, too. The others commented that the planning of specific tasks was lacking. It showed she did not prioritize well when she decided that in the last hour, four of them had to go out to buy non-critical items like the red carpet. One person could have handled that task.
In lieu of being one of four to buy a red carpet, Jen should have been using that time to hone the presentation and perhaps learning that “Zathura” is not pronounced “Zenthura.”
Her rambling, unfocused and obviously under-prepared presentation was one big reason they lost. After it was over she said she was “good,” indicating that she didn’t even realize how lacking the presentation was. Here’s a tip – when your audience are all trying that hard not to laugh at you, it’s not going well!
This series will always feature contestants who are difficult to work with, and Kristi is one of them. I thought Jen spoke to Kristi in a good, professional manner, but just not very effectively. In fact, when the discussion ended, Kristi hadn’t actually agreed that there was a problem, never mind admitting that she was the problem. I did not really expect Kristi to suddenly change her ways, but at that time I think that in Kristi’s mind, her behavior had been reinforced, more than critiqued.
In the boardroom, Jen made the right decision to only bring Kristi back, as no one else was responsible for task failure. Jen’s mistake, though, was that she should have repeatedly hammered on the fact that Kristi designed the float, and that Kristi’s poor design and construction of the float were the primary reasons they did not win. Her overall performance at this stage seemed panicky and not always responsive, and I thought she was close to tears at one point.
Jen’s lame attempt to make nice with Kristi at the end was also poor judgment. Maybe in a beauty pageant the winners and the losers make commiserate, but this is a different, more serious platform. This was a rival who directly stated that she didn’t like you – there’s no reason to pretend you are sorry.
Jennifer’s rating must be UNSATISFACTORTY. In maturity, vision, and ability to deal with others, she seems to bring the least to the table.
Kristi: Off the top of the episode, Kristi was prominent in the positive discussions the team had where they tried to put past failures behind them. Four minutes into the show, that was about the last positive scene we saw about Kristi.
Her float design was the main reason they lost, and she didn’t respect Jen. When Jen pulled her aside, and described her as “bossy,” Kristi tried to substitute the word, “bold.” Nope – bossy… and Jen made that point clear. Yet in the boardroom, Kristi didn’t remember this conversation. This “I’m shocked” form of selective memory is a sure way to lose any job.
Finally, undermining Jen by saying, “Don’t blow it!” right before the presentation was not a way to build confidence of team unity.
In previous reviews I’d given Kristi credit for stepping up to deal firmly with teammates who were under-performing. Now, it just seems like she enjoyed the drama.
I must conclude that Kristi’s rating is UNACCEPTIBLE.
Well, those are the performance reviews for this week. I’ll be back next week with a fresh review of our remaining candidates’ activities.
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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