The Apprentice 5 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 12by Brian Towers -- 05/18/2006
In this series of articles about The Apprentice I will focus on the business actions of each player and give a brief performance review for each applicant each week.
The highly subjective “most effective display” isn’t one of my favorite task objectives, especially this late in the season, but at least we got a break from hucksterism. Displays were supposed to be “interactive and three-dimensional,” and I don’t think the presentations of either team stressed the “interactive” part of the task very well.
This was quite the boys-versus-girls week, with duct tape taking on area rugs. Presented with one choice that was short on content and one that barely stood up to the stiff breezes of the air conditioning, apparently concept won out over style. In reality, I could have seen them announce, “There’s no winner, no reward, everyone back to the boardroom!”
The lads exhibited good teamwork skills this week and that might carry them right into the final. When one contractor failed to deliver, they both leapt to the task of making the best of a bad lot. That they were able to put together decent content inside those shaky walls indicates that contrary to the editing, they must have been doing some planning the night before and didn’t just have a coffee chat.
When it came time for judging I think Gold Rush got off pretty light for their hastily-constructed display.
The funniest moment of the night was when the roof was delivered about five minutes after the task was over. Roof-guy’s rating rhymes with TANKER.
Lee: I’m giving Lee credit for two concepts that maybe aren’t all that spectacular – unless they’ve been missed. First, he knew to address both task sponsors - Wal-Mart and Microsoft-Xbox. One tip for Synergy here is that when there are two execs of different companies standing there when the task is assigned, you need to represent both in your final product.
Also, Lee knew enough to incorporate pricing in the displays. Another tip for Synergy is that when you look around the store and see thousands of signs with prices on them, you probably also want to incorporate pricing in your final product. Even if they had lost, Lee was not going home this week and his rating is GOOD.
Sean: Sean tells us he “decided to step up and be PM” this week. Let’s examine that statement. Lee did it last week, Sean – not in the last five weeks. Hmm, imagine what Trump would have said if Lee showed up as PM two weeks in a row! So, no bonus points there.
Sean can up with the basic design of their display, based on the Xbox logo – very clever.
At this stage of the process, tasks are less about your own labor and more about your ability to plan and coordinate. To this end, Sean smartly addressed their lack of manpower by outsourcing the structure of their display to what I think were two contractors. I can’t fault him for being unfortunate to hook up with a wrong contractor. The walls, although badly mounted, did impress the judging executives. Also, they saved money by not falling back on Kinkos, the constant solution of choice this season.
Again Sean didn’t do the greatest presentation, with a goodly amount of stammering.
At judging time, the display that looked small, cheap, shabby, unsafe, and incomplete. None of those words are ones either sponsor would care to be associated with. Even if the details were right, discerning customers are not going into that… thing… to see them. I confess I really thought they would lose and Sean was going home. I assign him a SATISFACTORY rating, with a LUCKY DOG cluster.
Holy crap! For a team that looked to be getting along so well, Roxanne and Allie sure sold Tammy down the river this week. Even exempt players from previous seasons were more useful teammates than these ladies. They put forward halfhearted efforts, didn’t contribute ideas, and issued plenty of demeaning eye-rolls. Sandbaggers! Saboteurs!We know there are editing and time limits to how much we see each week, but we never saw Roxanne or Allie submit an alternative solution or address any shortcomings. Both claimed in the boardroom to have offered Tammy ideas, but they gave no examples. I can only rate on what we see, so I must assume Tammy’s version of events is closer to the truth. I considered it very unprofessional behavior, and with the end fast approaching, their stock has plummeted in my eyes.
Allie: I have nothing good to say about Allie this week. Besides the points noted above, why didn’t she take her turn as PM? And denying the eye rolls when Bill saw them – who does she think she’s fooling?
Allie forced herself to remain uncharacteristically mute in the boardroom, until she made an unnecessary comment as they left. For the second time it looked to me like Ivanka was ready and anxious to have Allie fired, but just couldn’t find the right opening.
For an inexcusable effort, Allie is assigned an UNSATISFACTORY rating.
Roxanne: I have nothing good to say about Roxanne this week, either. All the points at the top apply equally to her, plus her poor work in the areas of signage. The signs were shabby, simplistic, and undersized and therefore, minimally effective. Further, she had no idea when they were being delivered, nor was she about to make efforts to find out. Then in the boardroom, she denied all responsibility for signage issues. That doesn’t fly – she was in charge of signage and that means content, creation, and implementation.
For an effort as equally inexcusable as Allie’s, Roxanne is also assigned an UNSATISFACTORY rating.
Tammy: If there was one line Tammy would like to erase from memory, it would surely be, “It needs to be about me.” At every turn in the boardroom, it came back to haunt her. However, that statement doesn’t absolve the rest of the team from trying to win.
Tammy took a bold move by stepping up early to be PM this week. Unfortunately, she was the victim of some shoddy behavior by her teammates. However, she is not innocent of her own faults. Synergy came up with a visually impressive display that was missing two things – a Wal-Mart presence and a marketing focus. Both were fatal errors.
On the plus side, the “Hollywood” layout of their display was inviting and would attract foot traffic. It’s up to the sales staff to close the deal! Additionally, her verbal presentation was, once again, very smooth.
Tammy tried to address the lack of support she was getting with her team, but stonewalled with deniability, she had little recourse. In the real world, it would be time to re-staff.
In her cab ride home, Tammy may have hit the nail on the head when she said her personality might not be big enough for The Donald. I think that was the most insurmountable problem she faced.
Although I was tempted to make the team’s ratings unanimous, the display was Tammy’s vision, so when it missed the mark by such a large amount, the rating must be –UNACCEPTABLE.
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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