Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thoughts on The Apprentice: LA, Episode 2

This week's Apprentice was not as compelling as previous installments. Too much time at the Playboy mansion appealing to the more prurient viewers left insufficient time to show the burgeoning leaders in action on their swimsuit design task. I couldn't get a real sense of how anyone did on the task.

Team Arrow lost again this week. They had a poor showing in their male swimsuit designs mostly under the lead of Carey. Carey leveraged his own experience and made suits that would appeal to a limited community. He neglected to consider the broader based market that the buyers were looking to sell into. While this turned out to be a fatal error for Carey, I wouldn't put the blame for the loss on him.
Lesson 1: It's good to take advantage of your personal experience.
Lesson 2: Don't over-rely on your personal experience.

Carey showed an eagerness and spirit that will be missed on Team Arrow. He took a risk, and made a strong contribution. Mr. Trump should not have fired him. His team, and particularly the team leader, Nicole, let him down. They didn't channel his enthusiasm toward a mass appeal product. Everyone on Team Arrow knew that Carey's judgement was clouded by his enthusiasm. Nicole should never have approved Carey's final design.
Lesson 3: As the leader, you own ultimate responsibility for the team's decisions.
Lesson 4: Team members need to support their team mates by helping them see through their own excitement.

In reality, both teams failed this week. Neither team did the advanced marketing required to understand what would sell best. Heidi and Team Kinetic got lucky at best to pull off a victory. As far as I could tell this task was a coin toss that neither team helped to rig in their favor.
Lesson 5: You have to understand your customer.

I am also disappointed in Heidi this week. She didn't leverage her victory last week by delegating opportunities to lead. The seeds of discontentment showed in this episode, and will be fully sowed if Heidi doesn't delegate some leadership. Heidi won't be able to survive a loss if she doesn't win some unconditional loyalty in the next task.

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