The Apprentice Week 6 – Child’s Play

The Apprentice Week 6 – Child’s Play

Kick MeThe teams are tasked with organising corporate team building away day this week. The task will be judged on customer satisfaction and value for money (£5000).

Sugar mixes up the teams and decides on the PMs again. Miles goes to Endeavour, where Leah is PM. Francesca is appointed PM of Evolve.

As a professional trainer, the key to success in training events (of which this is an example) is to start with what you want the participants to understand, agree with or do after the event. This has to come from  the client. Only when you know where you are going, can you design games, exercises etc to take you there. Unfortunately, both teams went for a theme first, and both teams suffered as a result. Evolve go for a school theme, and for Endeavour, Leah ignores the vote and pushes for a history theme.

Leah’s sub-team is then late for a meeting with the corporate client (Barclays), because she is still arguing about the theme. Her pitch for a medieval theme is wooly, to say the least. Meanwhile the other half of the team try to source activities such as archery, whilst squeezing the costs. Leah then decides that a military theme is more likely to meet the client need to improve communication. This just reinforces the point that deciding on the theme is secondary to the point of the away-day.

The rest of the day shows the various sub-teams bitching about each other and what tasks to do. Again, there is no evidence  of the learning coming before the task. Having fun seems more important than developing communication skills, which the client has requested.

At the end of the day, the teams get together to discuss progress. and it is clear that both teams have issues with focus and direction. Neil persuades / bullies Leah into allowing him to do the motivational speech, whereas Francesca insists on bringing in a professional costing £600.

Next day, the teams set up and run their events. The reaction of the participants suggests that they are struggling to see the point of the various games (as are we). However, for Endeavour, Miles and, especially Neil, step up here and rescue the task by linking in themes of communication and listening to the games. There is no such link or joined up thinking in Evolve.

In the boardroom, both teams are asked to refund the client. Endeavour are asked to give a refund of 25% due to no contingency for rain. Similarly a £1250 refund for Evolve due to lack of business focus. This reflects how poorly designed the days were by both teams.

Endeavour win and Neil comes in for special praise from the client. He has proved to be the difference between the teams.

Francesca decides to bring back Luisa(doesn’t like the Corporate world)  and Rebecca (pushed for the professional speaker and the wine challenge). Francesca is challenged on why she brought Luisa back. Luisa’s attitude is challenged by Sugar. In the end Sugar describes Luisa as a “bombshell”(?).  The failure of the task is attributed to Francesca’s poor  leadership, but it is Rebecca who is fired, as her only contribution was to champion the more expensive items (wine and professional speaker). This is a bit harsh, as it is unclear who could have done the speaking from within Evolve. Overall Rebecca has been a weak candidate, but this week, Francesca should have gone.

Of the surviving candidates, Neal has to be taken seriously, as does Miles. Leah has had a bad couple of weeks and needs a strong performance in the coming weeks. Luisa is a dead (wo)man walking, and Jason is still only there for comic relief.

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3 Responses to The Apprentice Week 6 – Child’s Play

  1. Tim says:

    Hi Mark. I quite liked this task – it was original and at least paid lip service to the fact that customer satisfaction might matter in the real world. I’m not really sure why so much was made of the costs – if Francesca’s team had made their theme coherent and consistent and executed it properly, they wouldn’t have had to give a refund and they would have won as a result. But some of their expenditure was ludicrous (the food, the flamingos, the wine tasting …)

    Agree that Francesca should have gone, but Rebecca had had so little impact it’s hard to lose any sleep over her being fired. And as objectionable as Luisa continues to be, she was a strong performer on this task. Even her silly anti-corporate spiel was a bit of a red herring, as it had zero impact on the outcome of the task.

    Ah well. My review and half-term report are here:

    http://slouchingtowardstv.com/2013/06/06/the-apprentice-marching-orders/

  2. markdecosemo says:

    Thanks, Tim. I was surprised that on You’re Fired last night Rebecca got so much support. She may have been unlucky on the night, but she has not done too much across 6 weeks. I think she made the classic mistake of mixing up what she liked / had experienced in corporate (Pharmaceutical) life and what the client wanted.

  3. Tim says:

    Rebecca was a good seller but I didn’t see much else from her. She was either deliberately being quiet or struggle to venture far from her comfort zone. Either way, she had done little to give Sugar cause to keep her.

    Equally, though, she was fired for recommending the one part of their day which, though expensive, worked. There were many other things that went wrong with the task – it wasn’t just about that £600 spent. For that reason, Francesca really should have gone.

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