Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

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Friday, April 07, 2006

The Apprentice

So most everyone knows that I'm addicted to the Apprentice. I've watched it since the first season and have honestly really enjoyed it. This year has really become bad though. The first year, there were truly likeable personalities on the show. Each person there had a redeeming quality. You could see that they had worked hard to get to that point in their respective careers, but that they all had a quality that made you want to follow them as a leader. The people that didn't, that disrupted team chemistry, were fired for the most part. When the show worked like that, it made for good television. You enjoyed the idiots, but ultimately they frustrated you and the viewer wanted them gone too.

As each season has gone on, the original cast seems like an anomaly to the groups that have been brought in to replace them. The second season saw more successful people than in the first, and the third season was a book smart - street smart type battle. The fourth was more type A personalities. The problem with this approach is having so many people that have a cut-throat personality makes life difficult. Organizations work because there are people who follow and people who lead. You hope some of those that are learning and following can blossom in to leaders and replace those that move up, but some don't. If you need proof, put 10 managers in a room and see what gets accomplished. 10 managers will succeed in identifying an issue, discussing an issue, wondering if the issue should be discussed, and planning the next meeting to discuss what they went over. Nowhere in that meeting will the issue be resolved. Now look at it with the Apprentice. Take 10 type A personalities and tell them to work together. Each wants to run the show, each thinks their idea is the best, each thinks their opinion is the only one that matters. When something fails, it's never that person's fault, even if it was that person's idea. And, unfortunately, when all these people are together, they are decidedly unlikeable. Which is why finding a person who can lead a group like that is rare. It's also why the guy who won last time was able to.

Even more than this, the problem is increasingly becoming Trump himself. There is no way to truly defend yourself in the boardroom apparently. Take responsibility, fired. Pass responsibility, fired. And this week was the biggest point to that. The team that lost put together a solid project, did a good job. They lost because two people literally couldn't contribute. One was Russian and couldn't write a jingle because of language command, one was Jewish and was at Temple for one of the holidays. He brought them back because they contributed the least and had he had them he felt the team would have won. Trump fired him for not bringing in the people responsible for the lyrics and music. Interesting really. It more confirms to me that I could never have done that show even if I'd wanted to. Trump is an interesting personality, but the person he brings on board from this group is going to cause a lot of problems in the organization, because he's fired anyone with a shred of dignity or ethics.


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