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Lessons from The Apprentice, week 9
How to avoid the sack
In this week's Apprentice some were sky-rising high, while others were left a little flat, as the teams took on the property market. Polished and professional Vana and Richard were the big fee-earners, ensuring a victory for Richard as PM, while Joseph was "ambitious but took a step too far" as he took the reins of his team.
The surprise in store this week was a departure from the winning and losing sides alike, with both Scott and Selina leaving the process. So, what can we learn from the most recent episode?
How to not get fired
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Lesson #1: Don't throw in the towel
"You're doing my job for me"
Technically, quitting is a rather effective way to avoid getting fired, although it's not really what we have in mind here. In truth, Scott simply forced a hand that seemed inevitable at this point: Lord Sugar had singled him out for criticism despite his position on the winning side, and his aides reaffirmed that he was out of his depth and "floundering". Scott said he "didn't feel good at any part" of his last outing as PM and twice refused to acknowledge his fellow candidates when leaving the boardroom. It seems he'd started to throw in the towel a couple of weeks ago and the extra pressure being piled on as a result was too much.
Of course, it's not just Lord Sugar's life he made easier by leaving, but also the other candidates. The competition will always find it easier to win if you're not playing, and Scott opting out moved them each a step closer to the prize.
Key take-away: sometimes you need to move on, but you should always move forward – never ‘give up'
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Lesson #2: Focus
"It wasn't a matter of talking; it was a matter of showing enthusiasm"
When things weren't going right for Scott he called time. When things aren't going right for Selina she appears to lose interest. She saw that Joseph's pitches were derailing, but instead of trying to get them back on track she took more the role of a passive observer. As Claude pointed out, even if she had been "side-lined" as she claimed, there was nevertheless more she could have done. It wasn't just Joseph that could have shown more willingness to share the property developers' passion and win their business. Nor was this the first time Selina had been accused of tuning out during a task.
As well as the matter of focus, there's the question of what's at stake. Having previously been at the centre of disputes about personal performance versus team success, Selina showed a willingness to stake claim for the higher ticket items and to take over Joseph's sale, but not to pitch in and help when she saw her teammate and manager struggling.
Key take-away: don't let your pride get in the way of performance – focus on giving your all for the team
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Lesson #3: Try to get along
"I didn't want to keep dogfighting for the customer's attention"
Selina and Joseph vying for attention throughout their final chance of a sale was indicative of their inability to work together. In contrast, Richard and Vana performed a U-turn on their fraught brand of teamwork last week to become this task's top sellers. Early on, the latter expressed a change she'd noticed in the former and their newly productive relationship continued for the rest of the task.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it wasn't just Joseph with whom Selina failed to click. Her PM claimed she had alienated the rest of the house, and there was discord between her and Charleine especially. Tellingly, the latter predicted Selina's response to her success – that she would call them "easy sales". Simply put, not being able to work with others is a huge hindrance, and Lord Sugar's concerns about working with someone so "volatile" was what caused him to call an end to her time in the process.
Key take-away: in business and life you need to learn to get on with others – it's harder to win the race when you're rowing in different directions
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It's not all bad…
In earlier tasks, Scott was enthusiastic and that positivity brought him results – even if he needed Vana to step in when he was at his keenest, promising a full garden restructuring at the cost of day's labour. He clearly has talents, which just seemed to wain as his mood deteriorated. If he can keep his head, he should have no problem going further. When Selina tries, she tends to succeed; she just needs to maintain her effort – and take ownership – when things aren't going right.
Was Scott right to quit this week's #TheApprentice?— REED (@reedglobal) December 3, 2015