23rd May 2013
“It looks like you herded your buffalo team quite well in the end.” Lord Sugar, Episode 4
There was much anticipation ahead of tonight's episode of The Apprentice; just how the numerous divas amongst the Candidates would behave when faced with the inevitable sights, smells and sounds of the countryside, was bound to be a fascinating display of human behaviour and we were not disappointed. In fact, the whole episode was so packed with verbal and visual gems that it is really difficult to know where to start...
Or perhaps not that difficult; I think the sight of Alex holding up a bunch of carrots and asking 'what are these?' sums up the degree of cluelessness with which this task was conducted by both teams. As I watched, I was reminded of my somewhat long-winded dissertation title "Compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act in the NHS ~ Good Luck or Good Management" - the last five words being the critical phrase here; 'Good Luck or Good Management'.
Both teams did not really show that they had a particularly good grasp of the management of the task and it was sheer luck that either of them made any profit at all. In fact, we probably can’t be absolutely certain that there was any profit in the task at all, given the figures only took account of sales over initial outlay and did not take into account waste; of which I am sure there was plenty to be found in the bins behind those two shops after the front doors had closed.
The question I posed last week was very quickly answered as the teams were divided up by Lord Sugar, who proudly proclaimed that there ‘would be at least one girl in the winning team this week’... That question being; who would bring the most influence to the task this week – the boys, who up until now had appeared to be ‘Performing’ or the girls, who were still very much in the ‘Storming’ phase of Tuckman’s model of the Stages of Team Development.
And the [proud] winners of this unofficial sub-task were... ta dah; the ‘girls’, who finally managed to win something by instilling a culture of posturing, back-biting and chaos into both Endeavour and Evolve and giving the boys an opportunity to see first-hand why they have been the most successful team in all of the tasks thus far.
Luisa was appointed as the Project Manager for Evolve – formerly the ‘girls’ team and she was very keen to be the person who project managed this team to their first win. Whilst she did in fact achieve this; it was only through sheer good luck, the ‘exotic meat’ market and the fact that her sub-team chose to ignore her instruction to ‘only buy a few vegetables to ‘dress’ the shop’ and bought a reasonable amount of stock to actually sell, that this win was achieved.
If it was down to Luisa, the task would have been turned from a ‘farm shop’ into a ‘jacket-spud van’ and would have failed spectacularly; with only 20 jacket potatoes out of a projected 150 sold! Her second idea of selling soup alongside the jacket potatoes, whilst more successful, still only achieved 35% of the projected sales. However, the look on Luisa’s face as the team left the Boardroom strongly suggests that she lacks any self-awareness of her own failings in that task (or any of the preceding ones for that matter!) and also showed her complete inability to work as part of a team... If I were to lay odds, I would say that she won’t last much longer in the process...
As the Project Manager on the losing team, Neil’s tenure in the competition looked like it might have been short-lived; but his ‘cunning ploy’ to bring Uzma into the Board Room, knowing that she’d already been issued with a ‘warning’ from Lord Sugar the week before was perhaps his saviour. Though to be fair to Neil; his assessment of Uzma’s contribution to the task was absolutely spot-on.