The Apprentice 2012 Week 2 – Girls do a Stirling job of self-destruction

The Apprentice 2012 Week 2 – Girls do a Stirling job of self-destruction

Second task, second loss, and Maria – she of the bizarre eye-liner – pays the price. In reality (TV) we sat observing not one, but two car crashes in this week’s Appentice.

The task was to design a new gadget and pitch it. Simple you might think, but what we really learned this week was that this bunch of “Britain’s Next Great Entrepreneur wannabes” are anything but. This was an opportunity for individuals to shine by coming up with something new or better than is already out there. Remember, this is how Sugar made his name – looking at the market trends and coming up with a (cheaper) alternative and making money out of it. Instead as one of the boys said they “invented the bin” (actually a food waste ecompactor) and the girls ignored the market research and gave children the means to write on the bathroom wall with felt tip pens.

The whole thing was a shambles. For Phoenix, Azhar volunteered as PM and the atmosphere was lively, but upbeat and they quickly agreed to Duane’s food waste compactor idea. Apparently.

In Stirling, Jane and Katie (no doubt aware that she needs to be seen to contribute more) pitched for the role and immediately battle lines were drawn. Jane got it and described her style as “leading not following” and that even her son calls her “bossy”. She lived up to this description. Jane introduced lots of structure to ensure control and focus, as her Driving style tends to do. Unfortunately the girls coundn’t come up with any ideas for a long time, before Laura suggested something to stop water splashing at kiddy bath time. Surely this is what makes kids want to have a bath? The second choice was pillow/cosy/ tap cover.

Both teams set up sub teams to do market research, and promptly chose to ignore what people told them. However, they each did it in their own way. For the boys, Adam led a mutiny against the compactor, not voiced earlier, and suggested scourer-Marigolds. He then selectively ignored any negative comments from the focus group! They fed back that the focus group hated the compactor (they didn’t) and unanimously loved the gloves (they didn’t). PM Azhar ignored them anyway in such way that he reinforced the mutiny! War lines were drawn here too.

For the girls, the focus group loved the tap cosy, but were not sure about the splash screen. PM Jane did not want to hear this, especially from sub-group member Katie, and went with the splash screen.

The end result is two teams following poor process, clear on the task but not really acting as TEAMS and with individuals feeling excluded. This is a perfect example of how best to ignore the Adair “Action Centred Leadership”model that I personally favour.

At the pitches there was a lack of polish in both teams, but the girls had added lack of clarity around a pricing / profit strategy that they managed to share with the clients (Amazon and Lakeland). The boys managed to exclude the most passionate supporter of the compactor from the pitch – Duane who came up with the idea. He eventually jumped into the Amazon pitch and probably saved the day for the boys.

In the boardroom, the boys lack of unity (2 teams not 1) came to the fore, led by Aggrieved Adam, and yet they still won. Jane saw this as an opportunity to bring back outspoken Maria (who was caught taking a quick snooze in the car during one of Jane’s pep talks) and Katie (the lame duck) until Lord Sugar remiinded her to focus on the task and not personal feelings. With this in mind, Jane brought chum Jenna, who made a mess of the costings, back with her and Maria. Sugar was in a real pickle as to how many and who should go, such was the debacle on show. In the end, Jenna backed Jane and Maria was fired. Interestingly, she wasn’t bothered and stated to camera that she will get she funding elsewhere. That is a Real Entrepreneur. And in real entrepreneur style, she will do it on her own.

This week, either team could have lost as they had poor products, ignored the market research, were not united as teams and had poor leaders,. No wonder Lord Sugar was gobsmacked. He must wonder if he can work with any of these people. It is going to be a greast series as, for the first time, we are seeing individuals and agendas on show. Egos will clash.

About markdecosemo
Consulting Trainer and Coach to healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals

One Response to The Apprentice 2012 Week 2 – Girls do a Stirling job of self-destruction

  1. Tim says:

    There was definitely a distinct lack of teamwork and an excess of personal agendas on show here. To be honest, I thought the boys’ idea was decent enough – you don’t expect anything truly innovative in this task, but there was a concept of sorts there – but Azhar’s machinations and the way he lied to his sub-team were appalling. (As was Adam’s distortion of their focus group feedback – I’ve seen equivalents of his idea in both concept and in the market before – none of them are actually any good.)

    But we’re shaping up for some massive ego clashes, which will be entertaining – just not very instructive from a “teach people about business” perspective.

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