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HR Insights - Extra 
Over the next few weeks and whilst The Apprentice is being shown on the BBC, we will be running a second blog, concentrating on the programme and the candidates... *** Spoiler Alert*** - the following blog will reveal the results of this week's episode. 

17th July 2013 ~ THE FINAL! 
“Once I thought I was wrong... but I was mistaken!” Lord Sugar Episode 12 
Well, that’s it; it’s all over for another year and we finally know who Lord Sugar’s new business partner will be... For those who are reading this prior to watching the episode though, let’s just review the final before we do the big reveal... 
So the final started with the inevitable phone call from Lord Sugars’ office, which prompted another corker from Luisa, who expressed some surprise that they would be doing another task... Perhaps she thought the winner would be decided by a game of ‘one potato, two potatoes’ or even ‘rock, paper, scissors’!!! 
The final task was to prepare a launch package based on the two finalist’s business cases that had been revealed in the interviews last week; so it was down to ‘baking v. beauty’... The first job was to review the profiles of their fellow candidates who had all bitten the dust in earlier weeks and in this task, Leah was quite clearly the winner – having managed to secure all her first choices, leaving Luisa with only one of her first choices - Neil. She was also joined by Jason, Zee and Natalie; whilst Leah called upon Myles, Uzma, Francesca and Alex. 
Both finalists were clearly in control of this task, with neither one truly accepting any suggestions made by their colleagues... at first anyway. 
Leah’s journey seemed to be the smoother of the two; helped in part by her business proposition appearing to be so much more understandable than Luisa’s, judging by the bemused looks on the faces of her colleagues anyway. What was evident from both on this occasion though, was how much more effective a ‘project manager’ and ‘team leader’ they were, once they were back within their own comfort zones. 
There was still a few classic moments though; Luisa’s team reported back from the focus group [a group of bakers], that they would not be attracted to a ‘pink’ brand as it would be considered to be too ‘gender specific’. Despite that feedback, she ploughed on with a very pink and ‘girly’ brand, which prompted Nick to describe it as being like ‘something out of Bambi or Barbie’. Luisa then went on to do her own market research by visiting a ‘boutique cake shop’ - that’s a new concept on me, which can presumably only exist in places like London, Chelsea, or Oxford!!! It was clear that the woman in the shop was also quite bemused, having been asked for her opinion and then not being able to get a word in edgewise. This was later described by Luisa as being 'because the owner of the shop had the same opinion as her'; well she would wouldn’t she – everyone you speak to will have the same opinion as you... if you don’t let them say anything!!! 
Luisa’s final faux pas came in the final moments before her presentation, when she opted to ice cupcakes rather than rehearse her presentation, which led Nick to comment ‘failing to prepare the presentation is preparing to fail’; he clearly is after ‘Mystic Meg’s’ job in the down-time before the next series of the Apprentice as sure enough, Luisa’s presentation was littered with mistakes and she was clearly overwhelmed with nerves. All credit to Lord Sugar though, who reassured her back in the Boardroom that it hadn’t been noticed by him at the time... 
So back in Leah’s team and unlike her counterpart; when she was given feedback that her name of ‘NIKS’ (with a backward K!) had been received badly on the streets she did respond by changing the name to N.I.K.S (still with a backward K!), having received such comments that it would be associated with ‘cuts’ or ‘shaving cuts’. Possibly not the right association for a clinic offering aesthetic cosmetic treatments!! 
In the presentation, Leah’s performance was much more polished; though perhaps her greatest ‘mistake’ was the defensive way in which she virtually ‘attacked’ one of the audience members who questioned her logic and approach. Bearing in mind that the audience was made up of ‘industry leaders’, who perhaps should have been given credit by Leah for having some knowledge and experience of the market she was proposing to enter into...  
A more constructive way for her to have responded to that challenge would have been to; acknowledge their experience and thank them for their suggestion and then, if she truly believed in the information she had gathered in her research, to reaffirm this as a solid basis for her business plan and its validity in the current market place... No offence caused – simples!!! 
And so we moved into the Boardroom with the big decision looming... All comments and remarks were fed-back to Lord Sugar and as usual, he did his best to build the tension before announcing that Leah would be his new Business Partner – leading to some celebrations in my sister’s house, who announced that she had won her office's sweep-stake!!! 
So what was it that gave Leah the edge?? Lord Sugar clearly had two very strong prospects sitting in front of him in the Board room and it was never going to be an easy decision to take. However; and whilst I personally think that Lord Sugar’s concerns about Luisa’s focus not being 100% on the partnership were a bit of a red herring, at the end of the day; Leah was looking to launch a new business, whilst Luisa was looking to expand her existing business and this for me must have played a big part in the decision that was ultimately made by Lord Sugar. 
And with that one final ‘point of Lord Sugar’s finger’, the curtain was brought down on the Apprentice 2013... Well, not quite; a couple of last points about the final before I run down my favourite moments of the series... 
I admit that Luisa was not my favourite candidate throughout the whole series; there were times when quite frankly, I wished that one of the other candidates would have slapped her (and perhaps they did off-camera). But, her admission in the ‘You’re Hired’ programme following the final, that her behaviour towards Jason in the now infamous ‘abdication episode’ was a moment in which my opinion of her changed for the better. Her apology was heartfelt and genuine and more importantly, she reminded us all that no matter how old we get, when we do something wrong our parents will tell us off and make us feel as though we are back at school!!! 
And as for Leah; she is already learning that Lord Sugar will never be a ‘sleeping partner’ in any business with which he is involved. Having wedded herself 100% to the name of ‘N.I.K.S’ (with a backward K) for her business; Lord Sugar commented in the Boardroom that his favoured name for her business would be ‘Dr Leah’s’, to which she replied ‘No, I don’t like that’... Only to then announce in the ‘You’re Hired’ programme, some 30 minutes later (yes I know, I covered the real time scales last week!) that the name of her new business would be ‘Dr Leah’s’!!! 
As we wish Leah all the best with her new business, I thought I would close this, my final Apprentice blog with my top 10 moments of the series... 
10) Down on the farm and Natalie struggled with the difference between a dog, a horse and a cow... Don’t ever accept a ‘tip’ from her when it comes to the Grand National – Bluebell [the cow], will struggle to get over Becher’s Brook!!! 
9) The look on the faces of the girls in week 3, which went from ‘sheer joy’ to ‘utter dismay’ as Karren - rather wickedly and with excellent comic timing - fed-back to them that “... they absolutely loved you... they absolutely loved your pitch... but; they absolutely hated the product [the ‘tidy-sidey’] and have not placed any orders...’ Classic! 
8) Week 4, Dubai – who could forget that moment when Kurt mistook ‘centimetres’ for ‘inches', leading to the production of a 'napkin-sized' flag which was supposed to be flown above the hotel and which was described by Nick, in his unmistakeably dry style, as being ‘Like a pimple on an elephant’ 
7) Staying in Dubai; the sight of Jason doing that ‘British bloke abroad’ thing; where he thought that by speaking a little louder and gesticulating wildly, that would assist the rather bemused looking local gentleman in understanding that they were looking to buy a ‘falcon hood’ in a shopping mall... Because no trip to the local Mall would be complete without a trip to ‘Falcon’s R Us’ (thank you Dara O’ Briain for that one!). 
6) The look of absolute bewilderment on the faces of employees of ‘Karmarama’ as Luisa and Jason walked through their offices going at each other ‘hammer and tong’ in what has become known as ‘the abdication episode’... A shining example of professionalism... Not!!!! 
5) The sight of Myles trying to remain composed and pitch what could only be described as probably the worst marketing concept since the Sinclair C5; whilst Alex prepared the ready meal behind him. 
The idea is to make a few holes to allow the steam to escape Alex, not put in so many that the whole cellophane cover disintegrates in the microwave!!! 
4) Alex’s eyebrows! – what more can you say, other than; I suspect they will not take off in quite the dramatic fashion that the ‘Rachel’ hairstyle did in the nineties (following the start of ‘Friends’ for those who are not old enough to remember!!!!). 
3) Jason’s fantastic demonstration of how not to negotiate in week two; just when a pretty good price of £75 a barrel had been agreed for the beer, Jason stepped in with a counter-offer of £70 a barrel. Unsurprisingly, the managers of the pub jumped very quickly to accept that price... Alex and Zee on the other hand, were a little less than happy with Jason’s negotiation techniques!!! 
2) Karren Brady’s facial expressions throughout the series; a top business-woman she may well be, but I bet she’s absolutely rubbish at poker!!! 
1) And at number one; I know it only happened last week, but my absolute favourite moment of the series was Mike Souter interviewing Jordan; pulling out a Rubik’s cube and telling Jordan to prove his claim that he could complete it in under 3-minutes. A very valuable lesson for all; don’t put over-exaggerated claims onto your Curriculum Vitae – they could well come back to haunt you... 
So this is it; the end of my weekly updates on the Apprentice for this year. I hope you have enjoyed reading them all and hope that you will continue to find my regular blogs equally interesting – though perhaps a little less ‘cutting’!!! 
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