The Apprentice Week 3 – why planning is the most important part of negotiation

The Apprentice Week 3 – why planning is the most important part of negotiation.

So, the current score is Girls 0- 3 Boys, but this is not a score the Boys will be pleased with. Last night the third Boy left The Apprentice.  This is particularly disappointing for the lads, as Sir Alan mixed the 2 teams up for the first time.

Team Logic was eventually led by Gavin, though Vincent wanted the PM job as well. You just knew this would come back to haunt Gavin. Team Venture was led by Susan, the youngest contestant. It is rare to be able to see who was going to get fired so early in the process, but from the earliest shots of Gavin’s leadership he was a dead man walking. His only hope was to win the task. He didn’t so he had to go.

The task involved negotiating for 10 items needed by the newly refurbished Savoy Hotel. The team that got the items for the least money would win. As you can imagine, the items ranged from the comon place (light bulbs) to the niche – a Top Hat.  Both teams started the task with some planning. Gavin’s leadership style had no urgency and he looked out of his depth in handling some of the egos in the room. Gradually, Vincent started to take over and he was eventually rewarded by Gavin with leading a “sub team”. Three hours later (!) they set off with no real purpose and few leads.

Team Venture did better in the planning stage and set off in shorter time with clear focus and good leads to follow up. Just one little mistake. They ignored PM Susan’s instruction to head East for real bargains, and ended up shopping in Mayfair. Venure’s weakness was in targeting the wrong leads and this came back to bite them several times when they found negotiation difficult. Luckily they had the redoubtable Jim, who saved the day on 1 or 2 occasions.

So in the end, the task was a battle of poor planning on both teams versus organisation. Venture won because they were better organised. In the end they only won by £8, but they found 9/10 items. Logic only got 6/10. Logic were the better negotiators, but in the end they lost the task because they found fewer items and got penalties. In fact, item by item Logic generally got a better deal than Venture. But still they lost. The team became increasingly dysfunctional as Gavin’s leadership was non existent and Sales Manager Vincent bullied his sub team of girls and left them demotivated and frustrated. This probably worked in their favour as yet again the girls were generally not on Sir Alan’s radar.

In the boardroom, it was really between nice guy but inept Gavin and bully boy Vincent. The latter came out of the process weakened as “his” girls rallied against him. But he survived. Gavin was mortally wounded by his inability to organise the team in the planning session. 

The take home message here is that most succesful negotiations are built upon excellent planning and research. This and a sense of urgency as the clock is always ticking. Venture came out marginally better on this, but targeted the wrong areas. Logic took too long, had no organisation, and ended up with no real plan. With such inept leadership, Gavin had to go.

Current Favourite: Jim’s stock raised even more htis week as he proved to be a suave negotiatior. When will the girls find themselves in the line of fire?

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