Flower Power – poor decisions and poorer tactics in Young Apprentice

Flower Power – poor decisions and poorer tactics in Young Apprentice.

Week 3, and for the first time the teams were mixed up;

Kinetic – Lizzie PM with James, Harry H, Haya and Hayley.

Atomic – Hannah PM with Harry M, Gbemi,  Lewis  and Zara, a team of strong personalities.

The task this week was to arrange and sell flowers to both corporate clients and the general public. Both PMs were from the previously unbeaten girls team, and there was a clear contrast in styles. Lizzie’s more direct, no nonsense style with the quieter team Kinetic, and Hannah’s more democratic listening style for the egos of team Atomic.

Lord Sugar once again reiterated the key point “The team with the biggest profit will win”

For Atomic, Zara and Lewis did the Corporate pitches. Zara interpreted Hannah’s instructions on pricing as a minimum and put the prices up. They still won 2/3 pitches, but did lose out on the Hotel because of this tactic. The Kinetic sub team of Harry H and James lost out because of poor pitching (Harry talking and not listening, James and his “Rainforest Chic” pitch to the Salon). Not having a girl in the sub team probably cost them the Salon pitch. Although they did win the Hotel pitch, they ended up having to reduce their profit because the product was so poor.

In selling to the public the advice both teams had been given was to double or triple their costs when setting prices. Hannah adopted a strategy of doubling their prices to general agreement, with the vocal exception of Harry M who declared to camera “we only doubled prices, could have tripled them. We’ll see in the boardroom.” Lizzie and Kinetic went for the tripling of costs at Hayley’s suggestion.

Out on the street it was the usual dynamic action with both teams selling frantically. Gbemi and Harry M of Atomic went door-to-door in Spitalfields, with Harry desperate to sell the trifid-like (but high profit) Heliconia. He succeeeded at the last minute by bullying a bar owner into taking the monstrosity, and immediately made sure the team knew it was his success.

In the boardroom, amazingly (only if you’ve never watched the programme) Kinetic came from behind (with the corporate pitches) to win by £12. The failure of Atomic seemed to rest on Hannah’s choice to double not triple costs and on Zara’s Rouge Trader costing the team the hotel. Seizing on Harry’s claiming the Heliconia for himself, Hannah decided to bring back the 2 strongest performers; Zara and Harry M; Zara for ignoring her instructions and losing the Hotel pitch; Harry for being himself. This proved to be a crucial, and another poor, decison. Tactically it was also risky, as she targeted Harry and his selfish approach to teamwork. This tactic backfired spectacularly as Sugar listened with a bemused expression to Hannah’s reasoning.  Not surprisingly, she was fired.

The lesson here is that this is not a Team prgoramme. Perhaps Harry M has it right, being open and honest about his ambition. Nice guys (and gals) finish last, they say. This was true for Hannah who was a decent PM , but put team loyalty (and friendship?) over a desire to win. Hannah could have brought Lewis in with her; he admitted that he made mistakes, but she got her tactics completely wrong. This is reflective of many corporate environments, especially  sales, where people play at being a team to further their own ambition. Given an opportuinty to take the credit, these individuals will take it. It may  not seem fair to good team players, but it is this drive that often makes entrepreneurs successful. Good team players can always work for a charity.

In the house, there was general disappopintment that Harry M had survived at the expense of Hannah. Lewis ran out of the room (guilt? anger? romance?) and everyone else looked shocked, especially the previously unassailable girls. In truth Harry M and Zara may be annoying but they are emerging as the strongest candidates so far. For me, Hayley continues to impress in a quiet way, and she may prove to be the dark (or stalking) horse.

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2 Responses to Flower Power – poor decisions and poorer tactics in Young Apprentice

  1. Tim says:

    Hi Mark. You’re quite right that the outcome was eminently predictable as it followed the traditional formula for this kind of task by showing Atomic apparently doing everything right, but getting the most important decision of all – pricing – horribly wrong. Time and again the team that wins these tasks is the one that sticks to its guns with higher pricing, especially in a task like this (which I hadn’t appreciated initially) which was all about generating profit on goods sold, with unsold stock not counting against the teams in their final cost calculation.

    Although Zara was insubordinate, she made the right call being more aggressive on price. Yes, they lost the hotel pitch – but they won the other two. Harry M should never have been brought back in – that decisions was purely made on a personal basis. A poor call by Hannah – we all have to work with people we don’t like it, but you just have to suck it up and deal with it. The moment she failed to bring her friend Lewis back into the boardroom with her, she was doomed.

    My weekly post-episode thoughts are here:
    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/11/08/young-apprentice-atomics-problems-stem-from-faulty-pricing-in-flower-selling-task/

  2. Pingback: Young Apprentice Week 5 – Something smelly in the boardroom. « markdecosemo

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