The Apprentice 5 Weekly Performance Review, The Finaleby Brian Towers -- 06/08/2006
In this, the last of a series of articles about The Apprentice 5 I will focus on the business actions of each player and give a brief “performance review” for each applicant.
Let me begin with a comment about the finale itself. Wow, what an improvement the last couple of finales have been over the first couple! Whoever is responsible gets a VERY GOOD rating.
The final tasks of this season, as usual, involve running charity events with overt corporate sponsors. Both have multiple bosses to please, many tasks to complete and never enough time to complete them. Successful candidates need to show they can plan a good project but accommodate the inevitable changes. Surrounding yourself with good people is often a key factor.
It turns out that there since there was so little discussion of the final tasks, they were obviously no factor in the final decision.
The focus on Gold Rush was on Lee this week, more than his trusty minions Lenny, Pepi, and Roxanne.
Lee: Lee seemed to come up with a really good idea, auctioning off the game-worn jerseys of the celebrities. Too bad we never saw if this actually happened.
Why Lee ever thought that Lenny could perform the task of greeting the celebrities is beyond me. Sure enough, he blew it and a competent temp had to be pressed into service to fulfill those duties. This showed Lee did not properly allocate his human resources.
It was good that Lee met with Firefighters rep Christine to present the opening script and list of events. However, she was able to easily poke multiple holes in it and it became readily apparent his plan was severely lacking.
Jaime Pressley spent a lot of this show drifting aimlessly about the venue. Her time was badly mishandled throughout the event.
It’s a well-documented fact that Trump places great importance on being greeted by the Project Manager when he arrives at these final events. The fact that NO ONE greeted Trump’s arrival was a really, really bad move on Lee’s part. The Donald’s comment was, “They never learn.”
I believe ALL the V.I.P.’s ought to be properly greeted by the PM. In the Yahoo clips we saw Sean took time out to sip champagne with all his execs. What was Lee doing in those few minutes that was more important? That, folks, was bad time management!
In another example of weak time management, Lee had to hustle everyone out of the pre-game party room to get the game started on time. This gave the impression they were disorganized, plus it abbreviated bidding in the silent auction, and therefore, income.
Running an auction in an arena isn’t easy, and Lee did a good job soliciting bids and making sure everyone who bid was heard. This was the most important moment of his event and he was front and center, leading the way.
At the end of the day, Lee’s team was able to pull off their event with just a few warts and the customer (Lys) expressed her satisfaction.
In the live boardroom Lee did pretty well, primarily focusing on his own strengths rather than Sean’s weaknesses. However, his attempts to belittle the value of nine years of related business experience was very ill conceived. Not conceding that experience IS important made him appear less business savvy.
That point is important to me, it shows his business immaturity. Coupled with his odd team choices, the minor problems with his event and his loss as a PM in an earlier week, Lee’s rating is VERY SATISFACTORY. That’s not so bad, but it falls short of what is required to be the Apprentice.
Lenny: Ahh, Lenny. Right off the bat Lenny showed he was a detriment to this team when he confused Jamie Foxx and Michael J. Fox in front of the sponsor, Lys. If you don’t have your facts straight and follow it up with a casual, “Well, I don’t know,” you have undermined the credibility of your whole operation.
Despite it being his assigned task, Lenny missed greeting Jaime Pressley. His decision not to answer his cell phone to learn of arriving celebrities was pathetic.
Throughout the show, Lenny’s flippant style implied irreverence and he seemed to irritate teammates, sponsors and celebrities at every opportunity. For example, his behavior in the meeting with Lys had a negative impact on team credibility. There’s a time for humor and a time to play it straight – this was most definitely the latter. On the Yahoo clips we further saw him arguing needlessly with Roxanne.
Lenny’s performance in the locker room was sad. Guessing sizes based on preconceptions like goalies having small heads and everyone being size medium, that was ridiculous. Perhaps if he knew who these people were, it might have helped. Better, maybe he didn’t have the information about sizes, but he didn’t check if it was available elsewhere.
Additionally, when Pepi noticed that some players had less equipment, he shrugged it off instead of having a warning bell go off in his head. There were a lot of famous people out there without full protective equipment on, and had someone been seriously hurt, the money made auctioning the cars wouldn’t even pay the resulting legal fees.
The only possible rating for Lenny is UNACCEPTABLE. He was an anchor to Lee from team selection to the insulting of celebrities.
Pepi: Pepi was in charge of all the signage. No one gets credit for good signs, but if there are ever errors in this area, it’s a big, big problem. Advantage, Gold Rush.
However, Pepi’s performance with Lenny in the locker room was a joke. Noting that there were different amounts of equipment in each locker yet doing nothing about it, including not following up on his observation, that’s just irresponsible and potentially dangerous.
It’s definitely a NEEDS IMPROVEMENT rating for Pepi.
Roxanne: After the meeting with Lys, Roxanne called it “your worst nightmare,” and added, “I was embarrassed to be sitting there.” However, she was never seen contributing! If you aren’t helping, you’re hurting.
We are told Roxanne was in charge of setting up the silent auction, but when there were no bids it was Pepi who was dispatched to drum up business. Why not Roxanne?
On the plus side, Roxanne also did a good job of making sure bids were acknowledged at the car auction.
However, almost all season long, Roxanne has been getting NO RATING or ratings based on insignificant actions. Here we are again.
Focus this week was primarily on Sean and not so much on his team of Tammy, Andrea, and Tarek. Again referring to the Yahoo clips, we saw all three aides working very hard to create a successful event.
Tammy: Tammy’s main contribution seemed to be finding the missing music disk that was sitting on the table right in front of Sean. NO RATING.
Andrea: First off, I’m glad Andrea’s medical issues were not critical. I hope she gets a full, proper check-up, though.
Her dedication at getting back to the team quickly and not wanting to dwell on her personal issues when there was important work to be done speaks volumes.
Clearly not an area of her expertise, Andrea presented the car to be auctioned off. Maybe Tarek should have filled that role. Although she is weaker at face-to-face marketing, I thought she was certainly adequate in this task.
More than any other eliminated contestant, Andrea has benefited the most from her participation in these final episodes, because she showed all her earlier positive characteristics and added that she can work as a productive member of a team. Her rating is VERY GOOD.
Tarek: Tarek was given the task of setting up the SLS reception, and he performed it without much direction. That’s OK, competent people can run a basic reception without being micro-managed. It was apparent that he worked well with the sponsor and their message was well represented.
Tarek also gets a VERY GOOD rating.
Sean: One of the first things we saw Sean do this episode was to correct an oversight from last week and meet with the sponsor. Good move. In this meeting Sean made a couple of suggestions involving the WWF mascot (a panda), and when he sensed they were not being well received, he had the good sense not to push for them.
I’m not sure how WWF feels about this and I suspect they never knew until the show aired. It’s not up to Pontiac to dictate use of the WWF mascot! Just having their “panda” on stage waving and clapping doesn’t seem so vile, and I suspect had Sean pressed harder, this point could have been won.
Although I gave kudos to Tarek above for running a good reception, George was right to say that Sean ought to have been checking with him more often. Sean needed to briefly have his face in front of the SLS sponsor to assure them that all was going according to his plan.
I commented on this above, but Sean knew that it was a key point to meet Trump when he arrived, and he did so. Advantage, Sean.
The Pontiac rep felt they did not have sufficient signage, and told George and Andrea. Now, I did see the name “Pontiac” in great big letters behind the car on display, but if he felt they were under-represented, that’s the opinion that matters.
The pre-show party, auction, and concert all seemed to run very smoothly. Also, they were able to auction their cars off for more money than did Gold Rush.
In the boardroom Sean was firm but professional. He focused on his own positives. After so many over-emotional rants this season, it was a pleasure to see that basic communication skills have not been completely forgotten.
Bottom line – Trump got it right and Sean’s rating has to be… APPRENTICE!
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. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!
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