Young Apprentice Week 2 – Poor Leadership Proves to be a #recipefordisaster

Young Apprentice Week 2 – Poor Leadership Proves to be a #recipefordisaster

There was a theme of mixing things up in Week 2 of Young Apprentice. Firstly, Northern Irish -Firebrand Maria joined the boys, and Steven joined the girls. Then the task was revealed to be to produce a Recipe book and persuade 3 leading retailers to stock it. What became immediately apparent was that personality was going to play a big part.

For Odyssey, Maria made an immediate pitch for world domination Project Manager, but the lads rallied around the (safer?) choice of “the world’s youngest publisher” Sean. Maria wasn’t happy, but wasn’t going to allow this to stop her. She went on to use her considerable self belief and personality to ensure that Sean did (just about) everything she suggested, and the team lost the task.

Over in Platinum, “bossy” Lucy got the nod over Alice.

Both teams set about dividing up to do research and design. In Odyssey, Maria got her wish for a recipe book focused on the Professional Woman. The research suggested this was a bad idea, and Sean demonstrated poor leadership by allowing Maria to bully persuade him to stick with her idea. This not only created a split in the team, but is a repeat of a mistake made just last week.

Platinum came up with the idea of targeting students with the clever title #wheresmummy. This leads not only into possibilities of extended branding, but would give focus to potential social marketing. Despite this, the team was dysfunctional, “bossy” Lucy was a poor PM; decisive yes, but a poor listener and with a gift for pissing team mates off. The end product was shoddy to say the least. It looked good, but was full of spelling mistakes, in what was a terrible advert for the literacy of 16 & 17 year  olds. #cantbeleivetheywon.

So, battle lines were drawn. In Odyssey, Maria got most of her own way, ignoring both outside and internal counsel, but the product looked good. For Platinum, there was disharmony, but a good idea poorly executed. These points came to bear in the pitches to Sainsburys, Play.com and Waterstones. Maria (of course) led the first 2 pitches for Odyssey, along with Andrew and they came across well. Unfortunately, the product didn’t. For the final pitch, Sean showed weakness again, allowing Patrick his wish to pitch. It was a disaster. Why change a winning formula? Platinum came across well in their pitches, the product was liked, the spelling errors wasn’t. #gettingawaywithit.

In the Boardroom, it was revealed that Platinum got over 7000 orders to Odyssey’s 800. Two retailers did not order Odyssey’s “Professional Woman” book. The feedback was that the market was too narrow. This echoed what had been found in the focus group.

So, despite being dysfunctional and at times “catty”, Platinum won again. #bloodylucky. For Odyssey, Sean accepted that he had made mistakes, but blamed Maria’s push for the niche market. He then reinforced his poor judgement by bringing David back with Maria. David hadn’t done much wrong this week. In fact he hadn’t done much and was very subdued. Sugar was amazed that David, and not Patrick who was a disaster in the third pitch, was called back. It was no great surprise that Sean was fired, despite Sugar teasing Maria to the point that she was nearly in tears. Sean displayed poor judgement and was too easily swayed by strong personalities and wanting to be fair. This led to a poor product and business failure.

Although at times this week, the candidates showed their age and lack of maturity, we have seen similar behaviour in the “adult” Apprentice. Good leadership requires a level head but an assertive personality and sound judgement. Both “bossy” Lucy and “weak” Sean were poor leaders, one too strong the otther too weak. A true leader sits somewhere in between.

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2 Responses to Young Apprentice Week 2 – Poor Leadership Proves to be a #recipefordisaster

  1. Tim says:

    For sure, Platinum won despite themselves rather than purely on merit – although the concept and the comic book execution were excellent. I do feel that they would have done much better if the Three A’s (Alice, Amy, Ashleigh) had spent more time trying to understand and support a mediocre PM in Lucy, rather than constantly try to shift the blame off themselves. Alice appeared to be the ringleader here, and it was particularly unedifying behaviour.

    Rather lost in the edit was the fact that Platinum did NO research – which would have come back to bite them had they lost – and that Navdeep was clearly excellent on all three pitches, given that she secured good orders from all three retailers despite a flawed product.

    Your points about leadership are good ones. For me, a good leader knows when to operate in different modes at the right time. There are times when he/she must be strong, directive and unafraid to make unpopular decisions. And there are times when they know it is time to listen rather than talk. A great leader instinctively knows when each mode is called for and adapts accordingly. All Lucy did was direct. All Sean did was listen. Start to combine the two and you have the makings of a good leader.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2012/11/09/young-apprentice-too-many-cooks-prove-to-be-a-recipe-for-disaster/

    • markdecosemo says:

      Thanks, Tim. Your points about targeted marketing are well made. I hope it was just the editing that made the candidates show their age. They all, but especially the girls, acted their age.

      I too was impressed with the little we saw of Navdeep. At this stage she may be adopting a clever strategy of (wisely) only playing her hand around her strengths. Pitching and presenting seem to fall I to this.

      It’s probably expecting too much to get leadership from those do young, but to survive those left need to learn from the mistakes and successes of those around them.

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