The Apprentice Week 7 – Lord Sugar engineers a firing

The Apprentice Week 7 – Lord Sugar engineers a firing

This week’s Apprentice task involved the teams designing a new, free glossy magazine (called Fremiums) and selling advertising in it. Lord Sugar appointed Natasha to lead Team Logic, and moved Jim to lead Team Venture, with Leon moving in the opposite direction.

For once the task proved to be as bit of a red herring. Yes, it determined which team lost, and yes, there was a clear difference in Leadership style, but it had no direct bearing on who got fired.

Natasha has a very tell assertive, directing leadership style. She decided her team was going to do a lads mag, and over ruled or simply ignored the work and advice of her team. Had they lost, I’m in no doubt the team would have rounded on Natasha.

Jim’s style was a complete contrast, very consultative, ask assertive, ensuring that he was less exposed by making sure everyone was in agreement. Team Venture targeted the Over 60s market. And yet, Jim still made some key decisions that ultimately lost the task. Jim refused to negotiate in the first pitch, ignoring Susan’s concerns and then changed his approach with the next 2 media companies.

In the Borardroom, with Venture losing the task, Jim started to apportion blame, and looked vulnerable. As in previous weeks, Jim came out fighting rounding on Glen for not being willing to do the pitching, and Susan for claiming she was not behind all of the team’s decisions. In relation to negotiating, this was backed up by Nick.

Jim brought Susan and Glen back with him and found his style described as “passive aggressive” Karen and Nick. He was also described as “manipulative”.

Things were looking bad for Jim, but Lord Sugar had a card up his sleeve and fired Glen because he’s … an engineer! Yes, Lord Sugar informed us that he’s never met an engineer who can turn his hand to business and fired him. Lord Sugar hadn’t seen enough fron Glen, and amazingly Jim survived.

So, in the end the firing had nothing directly to do with this week’s task, and more an accumulation of observations against Glen and a prejudice against engineers.

Quite simply, this week the wrong person was fired. Early favourite Jim has been exposed and should have been fired.

Current favourite to win – Helen, who still hasn’t lost a task.

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6 Responses to The Apprentice Week 7 – Lord Sugar engineers a firing

  1. Tim says:

    I don’t think Glenn was ever a serious candidate to win, but equally he didn’t deserve to go. Susan has an attitude problem but she also has spark and makes (mostly) good decisions. Jim has been exposed as all charm – he is a good negotiator but that’s all he is, and lacks business instincts. He should have gone, but his time will come soon, I suspect. As will Natasha’s hopefully.

    I think Helen has to be considered among the favourites. She has a 7-0 record, has done nothing silly and although she has not had much airtime you get the sense she has her head screwed on. But my favourite remains Tom. As an inventor, he has something worth investing in, and week after week he makes the right calls in terms of task strategy (even though he is often ignored). He has been wise to steer clear of being PM because he is not a loud-mouthed type – he stands a better chance leading a smaller team than a big one.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/06/16/the-apprentice-sex-sells-as-logic-have-their-bases-covered/

  2. Tim says:

    I think a successful stint as PM is definitely the one thing missing from Tom’s armoury. He is the only surviving candidate yet to be PM, so we can be sure he will be nominated by Sugar to lead next week. The thing is I think he knows that he is relatively quietly-spoken and therefore vulnerable as a PM in the early stages when everyone’s desperately trying to be heard – how often have we seen him make a valid point and been completely ignored? Now there are only eight left, the teams are small enough that his quiet style is likely to be more effective. He may well prove to be hopeless as a PM, but he has maximised his chances by waiting so long.

    I also suspect that he’s not as soft as the others assume. He is an inventor who has had a degree of commercial success with his products, so he must have some working knowledge of the business world and be used to dealing with tough situations. He may not be Sugar’s type, but with the change of format and in a year where no one really stands out I think he’s got a genuine chance. It would be nice to see the nice guy finish first too.

    We shall see. That’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?

    • markdecosemo says:

      I think the most pertinent comment you make relates to Lord ALS attitude to Tom. I am preparing a blog post on Sugar’s prejudices. Like you, I hope Tom goes all the way. Tom and ALS could be a potent, complementary partnership.

    • markdecosemo says:

      What are your thoughts now on Tom? He seems a bit unassertive to me, and easily dominated by the bossy girls (all except Susan)

      • Tim says:

        In truth, they haven’t changed. On the earlier tasks, it was clear that Tom struggles to make himself heard in a team environment full of loud-mouths, and the last two tasks have only reinforced that. It is a BIG weakness in this competition, but it all depends whether Sugar can see an investable business at the end of it.

        Every other candidate has their weaknesses. Helen can also be too accommodating at times, and we do not have a clear indication what her big business opportunity is yet. Susan and Melody have their own businesses, but Susan is in many ways horribly naive and Melody will not be dictated to by anyone, whether it is teammates or focus groups she disagrees with – Sugar may view this as either a positive or a negative, it’s hard to be sure at the moment. Natasha speaks the right words, but rarely makes sense (although I concede much of her input in the biscuit task was valid). And Jim has been called out by Sugar for what he is: a smooth-talking bullshitter.

        In any other series, Helen would be the runaway winner. She is rightfully the current favourite. But can Sugar see something worth investing £250k in? I still think Tom is a strong contender.

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