The Apprentice 2013 Week 1 – Self-Contained Mess

The Apprentice 2013 Week 1 – Self-Contained Mess

Your firedThe first task facing our new candidates (you can read my pre-series review here) is to remember who is who as they meet each other for the first time. Same for us really. And what a bunch they are. A mixture of the vain, the lame and downright hopeless. Who is which remains to be seen.

Once again, the aim is to find a business partner, rather than an Apprentice. The first task sees the teams in the traditional Boys v Girls. Midnight. The Boardroom. A brief introduction to the candidates and then we’re off. The first task involves a container of imported products for each team. Aim – to sell from dawn throughout the day. The team that sells the most wins. Jaz volunteers to be the PM for the girls, with real conviction (“I’m only bossy if I’m right, which is most of the time”). Jason also volunteers, but seems to immediately regret it. He gets the job.

Potential Team names are bounced around, and the girls take Evolve and the boys go for Endeavour. Jaz reveals her teaching background and treats the team like kids. Jason struggles to control the egos on display as he is low assertive.

Locations are investigated and pitches are done, giving us a chance to see the typical team in Forming / Storming phase, which all teams go through when they first come together. As there is no formal leader, just a self appointed volunteer, this model (originated by Bruce Tuckman) suggests we can expect the team to hit “Storming” phase quite quickly. So it proves to be. Throughout the programme this is evidenced by ego clashes and arguments (think of your typical teenager and their parents). This is added to by the fact that he teams are not really teams, but individuals who are competing with each other. To support the team through this phase, the leader needs to adopt a strong guiding style. Neither Jaz or Jason, seem to have this in them. There is some politeness in front of the PM, but also occasional bursts of emotion as frustration sets in and deadlines approach. In the boys team, Neil in particular can’t resist taking over.

In the boardroom, the performances of the teams are scrutinised by Sugar, with both PMs getting criticism from their teams, as well as some praise. The winning team is revealed to be…Endeavour. By £58.

Sugar challenges Jaz on her strategy and location choices and her leadership.  After deliberation, PM Jaz decides to bring back Sophie and Uzma, neither of whom sold anything. Uzma protests that she had a “logistics” role. Jaz says she made a big mistake in not finding a buyer for the cat litter. Jaz describes Sophie as a “passenger”.

In the end Sugar decides that Uzma shouldn’t have been brought back. He turns on Sophie and Jaz, and ultimately, due to bad organisation, Jaz should be fired. This is probably the right decision as Jaz showed no commercial acumen and limited applied leadership ability. To me it is risky to take the first PM role when you don’t know the individuals. The first task is always going to be stormy.

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2 Responses to The Apprentice 2013 Week 1 – Self-Contained Mess

  1. Tim says:

    Hi Mark. Good to be back!

    I was surprised that a volunteer stepped forward from both teams so quickly. Will candidates never learn how risky this is, or are they really so sure of their leadership qualities? Certainly, while we obviously were only shown one side of Jaz in her single appearance, she did seem to lack business common sense and any real ability to empathise with or listen to her team, beyond making bland motivational statements and patronising comments.

    No one really stood out for me yet. Rebecca can clearly sell but is abrasive, Neil is just a less Yorkshire version of last year’s Adam Corbally, happy to take over and take credit for everything. But then we rarely get to see the favourites feature much until 3-4 episodes in, do we?

    My usual late-night ramblings are here. More of the same (only with added delirious fatigue) tomorrow!

    http://slouchingtowardstv.com/2013/05/08/the-apprentice-fools-rush-in-where-angels-fear-to-tread/

  2. Pingback: The Apprentice 2013 Week 2 – Flat Beer | markdecosemo.com

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