The Apprentice Week 6 – Leading from the front.

Edna finally made a reappearance in Week 6 of the Apprentice after hardly being seen for the last few weeks. It is clear to see why Executive Business Coach and Multiple Degree holder Edna has been missing, as she promptly got fired amidst claims of her taking credit for other people’s successes. Many people would say that this is exactly what an Executive Coach does!

Edna was part of team Venture, and had never lost a task. Venture was lead by Zoe, who assumed the role of leader as she wasn’t prepared to spend time discussing it. This proved to be indicative of Zoe’s approach to this task and her leadership was found wanting. Zoe misunderstood the strategy for securing the contracts on Day one, Consequently Venture failed to get either of the 2 contracts. It was noticable that Glen, not Zoe, gave the motivational talk to get the team focused for Day 2. Zoe had ended Day 1 in tears. Ultimately, Zoe survived despite admitting her mistakes, but its the last chance saloon for her.

Team Logic adopted a high risk strategy of paying nothing to remove the rubbish in the hope of maximising profit from the sale of recyclable items. Led by Helen, who also hadn’t lost a task, they secured both contracts. In the end they were lucky to win  (by only £6).  Jim, severely criticised by Lord Sugar last week, adopted a low key, low risk approach. He and Tom gave great impressions of Rag and Bone men as they scoured the streets of London in search of metal.

So, in summary, Helen’s team Logic had focus, took risks and apart from nearly overstretching themselves finally got Tom his first victory. Zoe’s team Venture lacked a cohesive strategy on Day 1 and Zoe’s leadership style was at best questionable, especially where Susan was concerned. Susan DID understand the strategy for securing the contracts, but was shouted down by Zoe. To lose by £6 from this setback ( the lowest gap in The Apprentice history) shows how well Venture did on Day 2, when the team pulled things back.

In the boardroom, Zoe appeared to align herself with Glen.  Zoe chose to bring Edna and Susan back in front of Lord Sugar. Zoe came out fighting, and in the end Edna’s bandwagon-jumping approach and MBA speech (Lord Sugar seems threatened by highly educated candidates who try to use their qualifications as a reason to stay) rescued Zoe. As leader, Zoe  probably should have been fired, but at least she owned up to getting it wrong on Day 1. Lord Sugar gave her credit for this, but warned Zoe he would not be so forgiving again. Edna dug herself into a hole, when she tried to justify her part in the task with “coach speak”. What Lord Sugar is looking for is a business partner, a do-er, not a coach or consultant. Edna never looked like the right type of person for this task.

From an Action-Centred Leadership Approach we can see that Helen scored highest on the three parameters of Task, Team & Individual:

Task – Helen was clear and focused, Zoe was not.

Team – Neither leader did particularly well, but both were strong in the face of challenge. Unfortunately, whichever leader lost was likely to find the team turn against them.

Individual – Zoe should have listened more to Susan, as she was the only one who understood what was needed to secure the contracts. Helen allowed Melody to challenge both herself and Natasha, but remained strong throughout.

So poor leadership from Zoe should have resulted in her being fired. She survived because everyone in the team agreed that Edna had a tendency to claim glory from other people’s successes. This had already been pointed out by Nick and Karen. Lord Sugar said he couldn’t see how he could work with someone like Edna. In the end this probably counted most. What Edna failed to realise is that it may be ok for a coach to sit in the back seat, but a leader has to lead from the front.

Favourite to win : Natasha, but Susan’s stock has risen this week.

About markdecosemo
Consulting Trainer and Coach to healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals

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