The Apprentice – week six

apprentice levy

My main question was why would you employ this bunch of people to improve your staff’s communication, listening and collaboration skills when they have yet to demonstrate any such skills and abilities themselves?

So how did events unfold? Leah was placed in charge of Endeavour. She opted for a history themed day despite the vote being for the school days one the boys on the team had pumped for. She over ruled them; for once going with her gut, but this was where she started to go wrong from the get go by over ruling the team and alienating them. However at least she had the common sense to see that theme wasn’t going to work when she met with Barclays Retail who asked her to focus on listening skills, communication and improving team work. Out she walked of the meeting and in she walked to an army themed day instead. What the?? How is that any of the above? That’s about shouting, telling, ordering and drilling? Oh well.

They pulled together a series of activities such as blind boules and quoits, marching and sumo wrestlers. All marshalled by Colonel Alex all dressed up in full army regalia and camouflage paint – cringe worthy. The saving grace was Neil and Myles trying, and succeeding, in making every event meet the business objectives brief. They worked out for each task how it ticked the relevant box and made sure it delivered. Well done boys.

Francesca as the other project manager, again appointed rather than volunteered, struggled from the start to engage and specifically to keep Louisa from trouble making. She had to endure Louisa’s speech about how much she disliked ‘corporate world’ and had little time or respect for it; not a great team player to have when it’s a very corporate client of lastminute.com you are working for.

Lastminute.com’s philosophy is to deliver a 5* service for a 3* price and they asked Evolve to follow suit. Sadly Evolve’s school themed day failed to deliver. Whilst it was described as fun it didn’t tick any of the business objectives requested – namely creativity, collaboration and communication. Instead Evolve tried to shoe horn their theme and activities to fit the client’s objectives; such an arrogant approach but indicative of their behaviours to date. This arrogance was further demonstrated by Endeavour’s Leah, who turned up late to meet the CEO of Barclays and failed to apologise!

Why neither of the teams regrouped properly to review the clients requirements and re-task the day after those initial meetings I can only guess at. Francesca stated there was a fine line between cost and quality and yet managed to deliver a shabby do-it-yourself day – it’s a bit like my business partner who hates heights agreeing to teach everyone to skydive. She has never done it, would never do it and so would deliver something so far from what is actually needed or asked, for its laughable.

The motivational piece at the end of each day was delivered in two very different manners, Evolve spending cash on a professional and Endeavour using Neil to deliver the speeches. This was an opportunity for us viewers to see Neil at his best so far. Yes he tried to take over from Leah, but in the end pulled together for the good of the team and delivered a rousing speech that the client went out of their way to commend to Karen Brady. One to watch with interest I think. It was this additional £600 cost though for Evolve that lost them the task and got Rebecca fired for her lack of input and the fact Lord Sugar hadn’t seen anything in her so far.

Louisa managed a lucky escape having been taken back into the board room by Francesca and lambasted for slagging off a corporate world in front of three very corporate judges. And no Louisa, people don’t dislike you because of the way you look, and I cannot believe you actually think that let alone said it out loud! Please!

Talking of looks though the episode had an exciting subplot running through it – the battle off between Francesca’s eyeliner making her evil eyes more evil, Jordan’s childish competitive smirks and Alex’s on-going eyebrow drama, complete with the shared waxing experience.

I’m finally starting to see some potential come through in the dwindling numbers though and can actually feel myself becoming more animated in this search. But in the end I am left with this question – if you were Lord Sugar who would you want to go into business with? Come share your thoughts and opinions with us at @BizMattersmag or follow us on twitter @3domSolutions

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