The Apprentice 5 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 1by Brian Towers -- 03/01/2006
In this series of articles about The Apprentice, we will be focusing on the business actions of each player. Toward that end, Iíll be giving a capsulated ďPerformance ReviewĒ on each applicant each week. Warning, a few comments on game play just might sneak in there, too!
Iíll begin by explaining the categories Iíll be using this season. The three positive ratings of EXCELLENT, GOOD, and SATISFACTORY are pretty self-explanatory. So is the neutral NO RATING, for the invisible ones that probably havenít messed up, but didnít do anything praise-worthy to catch my eye.
I use three ratings to report negative activity as well. NEEDS IMPROVEMENT means that there are areas that need to be improved, but thereís realistic hope that the situation can be reversed. UNSATISFACTORY means big problems have surfaced and overall, the job seems out of reach. And UNACCEPTABLE means multiple and/or repeated failuresÖ usually reserved for the one getting fired, or one who ought to have been.
Thatís it Ė seven ratings, possibly modified on rare occasions by the adjectives VERY or ALMOST if Iím feeling particularly whimsical.
Synergy: Let me start off by saying that picking an obsolete (or, ought to be) buzzword from the last century as your team name was not an indication of great things to come.
Iím not sure why George liked the idea of trying to make sales to people before they even get into the store. I think it would be far easier to approach people at checkout, look in their buggies and explain how much money theyíd save with the premium membership.
Iím not clear if this group has any more teamwork, focus or direction that the other, but with the exception of the surely doomed Brent, they pretty much stayed out of focus this week. In fact, I must assign NO RATING to Andrea, Roxanne, and Stacy.
Brent: My fellow Canadian Brent is in real trouble, heís about as useful to his team as a Zamboni in a wheat field. His ideas are not being listened to and he doesnít seem to realize that he doesnít present them, or himself, very well. Too many of those ideas were not good and deserved to be ignored. For example, karaoke? Calling the team ďKiller Instinct?Ē The team names are an important part of every season, so everyone should be showing up with at least one good idea in their pocket.
I hope we viewers are the only ones who know how upset Brent was at being marginalized by getting stuck in the blimp. Thatís exactly why they did it, they didnít want to spend the energy to supervise him. Iím really getting a ďMarkusĒ vibe from Brent.
The obvious rating is UNSATISFACTORY. He needs his team to avoid the boardroom for a couple of weeks while he repairs that nasty first impression, or heís done for. He might as well volunteer to be PM next week, I think itís his only chance.
Allie: Allie started out being designated as the project manager and did decently with the task. She got the team organized and focused quickly, and dealt with the distraction that is Brent. She complimented team members (Tammy) when they came up with good ideas, though she needs to watch those too-obvious eye rolls over Brentís questionable ones.
From what little weíve seen I think Allie picked the better team. Sheís right when she realized that this could make or break the game for her. I say, GOOD for Allie.
If it were up to me, Iíd pick all the entrepreneurs, because the first task is always selling by volume. If you win this one, you donít have to be PM for at least another five or six weeks and can concentrate on building relationships.
Michael and Sean: Nice work in the sales department. Even better, your teammates noticed it. Both GOOD.
Pepi: Bad, bad Pepi Ė heís the one responsible for that wretched team name! Thatís about the only time I really noticed him, though, so: NO RATING.
Tammy: Being picked first for having the most impressive credentials, thatís ďa good thing.Ē Oops, can I say that in a Trump article? Anyway, her idea of massages was a good one. Iíll give her a rating of GOOD as well.
Things started well for this team, in that they were the ones who came up with a name that wasnít insipidly irritating. After that, not so good. It hasnít taken long for this team to fall apart, has it? Infighting is not the basis of teamwork and you need teamwork to succeed on The Apprentice.
The following were undoubtedly working hard to ring up memberships at a fine rate, but I didnít see enough of Bryce or Leslie to assign anything but NO RATING.
Charmaine: Charmaineís main contribution this week seemed to be to sit by in silence while Summer stopped calling restaurants. Why didnít she question this? Why not volunteer (or insist) on taking the task over? Letting your team fail when you can take alternative action wins a NEEDS IMPROVEMENT rating.
Dan: Itís never a bad thing to be the first one picked for your team, unless the reason cited is fatherhood and not ďan impressive education applied to a variety of successful business ventures.Ē But seriously, Dan wins NO RATING as well.
Lee: Lee was uncomfortable talking about Summer behind her back. Heís 22, thatís just naÔve. In this group, I doubt if anyone would have cared if he went and got her! He ended up strongly defending her, and ending up on the outside of his group.
Rule #1 of all reality shows is that in the first episode, the person you want to go home is ďanybody but me.Ē Especially in this show, an unskilled player cannot survive for long. So why would Lee stick his neck out and fight so hard to get Tarek out of the game when heíll surely be gone soon anyway?
Lee has put himself on the radar for no valid reason. He did well in the boardroom but Iíll say that he NEEDS IMPROVEMENT in that he needs to find a way for his team to believe in him again.
Lenny: Iím not sure what to say about Lenny, but Iíll give him the rating of SATISFACTORY. He didnít deserve to be pulled into the boardroom, heíd done his job. Maybe spending the day with Summer gave him a different view of events, he too should have been satisfied to let Summer shoot herself in the foot.
Lenny gave good advice to Summer about not talking too much in the boardroom, too bad her short-term memory let it leak out. He handled the boardroom fairly well considering he was pretty upset to be there.
Theresa: Theresa had no problem telling us what a great selling team that she, Lee, and Lenny made, but I think sheís right. Theresa seemed to confuse a logo and a slogan when she was explaining to us what she did with graphics artist, but letís assume for now she got it right when she was actually talking to ďRed.Ē Iíll assign her a rating of GOOD.
Tarek: Tarek started out well. His first five picks seemed solid, though the last three, not so much. He also got his team quickly focused on the task. Putting Summer and Lenny in the blimp was exactly the right choice, as was positioning the blimp over the highway.
The tote bags were a waste, though. As come-ons to people who were already in the store, their value was minimal and consumed effort from the team.
Where Tarek really went astray was in the boardroom. His decision to pull Lee into the boardroom was vindictive, made only because after threatening him to toe the line in the suite, Lee still felt the need to voice a dissenting opinion. Lee knew he was safe and was all over Tarek.
Even worse was his decision to pull Lenny into the boardroomÖ that was personal. No way was Lenny going to be fired, so Tarek brought along a third voice to yell and laugh at him.
The only possible rating is UNSATISFACTORY PLUS. I doubt his position can be salvaged. Trump and Lenny let him know, they got him in their sights.
Summer: Summer started well, offering her knowledge of Samís Club to the group. Mind you, Iím not sure there was anyone there who didnít already know of them, but I canít be positive.
I think that her rationalization for not making the phone calls during the dinner rush was perfectly valid. In fact, she made this point to Tarek when he assigned her the task. What isnít clear is why she didnít do the calls later on, or why she didnít see the need to immediately feed back to Tarek and her team the significant fact that she had decided not to perform an assigned task. Had she done so, this would have been at worst a non-issue and perhaps, something to use against Tarek.
When asked if they thought their team won, every player on both teams felt they did, except for Summer. This was a bad, bad move from the point of teamwork. She was in the sky all day and had no feel for how much effort was required in selling upgraded memberships. I have no idea why Trump applauded her lack of teamwork.
When Carolyn asked her three times, ďWhat did you contribute to this team?Ē and she couldnít come up with an answer, why was that? What is it you do to prepare for the boardroom that doesnít begin with the answer to that exact question? Your hair? Migawd!
Finally, when Summer decided it was in her best interest to repeatedly interrupt Trumpís firing of TarekÖ WOMAN, WHERE WAS YOUR HEAD? For this self-inflicted wound alone, Summer gets an UNACCEPTABLE rating.
Brian lives in Toronto, where he can be reached at email@example.com. 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. Heíd like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!
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