The Apprentice – In The Firing Line

alex the apprentice
Adam Wollerton

The Apprentice has graced our screens for numerous weeks now, with this series showcasing more fire, bitchiness, and evil looks than any other. As Sir Alan Sugar’s ‘You’re Fired’ opportunities begin to shrink, who are you backing to win this year?

The latest tasks have demonstrated how to destroy your chances in business pretty well. We have been treated to the delightful task of creating a dating website, with Jason, the dopey toff, proving that although a generally nice chap, his business sense was lacking severely. Aiming to create a website for the over 50s dating market (apparently it exists) they ended up creating an unfinished website and the brand name ‘Friendship and Flowers’. Perhaps the tagline should have been ‘Remember your loved ones today’. Everything about the concept screamed funeral care, and so it was rather fitting that Jason’s time on The Apprentice was put to bed.

Last week, the task was to create a ready meal. The teams could decide the meal they wanted to create and the market they would target. Even with their impressive CVs, they still managed to create two of the worst ready meals known to man. Alex (a.k.a. Dracula) successfully demonstrated how to succumb to pressure, lose control, and the wrong way to set out project management. You don’t need a target market, a brand name, or a plan… just know that you want to make Paella!

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However, after the team had decided that they wanted to create a dish aimed at children, Alex turned to his team mate Miles for his parental experience. Suggestions such as the brand name ‘Deadly Dinners’ with the tagline ‘Healthy Horrible Food’ should really have sent alarm bells ringing in Alex’s head though. The only thing that could have made the idea any worse would be if they put it in a grey box with a skull on it… oh wait… just like Nick said on the programme ‘Skulls appear on things like bleach and drain cleaner.’ Yum.

On the sub-team for Alex was Jordan and Leah. They should be commended as the food they made looked tasty and they got a good response from their tester market. It’s just a shame that their food was let down by the awfully designed packaging. Jordan also stepped up when it came to presentation to the big companies and nailed his pitch, touting him as the shining star of the week in the eyes of his team in the boardroom.

And so to the other team. This week Neil, Louisa and Francesca made up Evolve. Louisa, also known as whiny manipulator or ‘I’ll just stay safe’ candidate, yet again placed herself on the marketing team despite having a specialism in the food industry. I think she missed a key opportunity to put herself back in the game after her previous week’s fail. Instead she chose to step back. That’s how knockbacks in business should be handled after all, a step down as opposed to recognising the issue, addressing it, and getting back on the horse and proving yourself . Bad move Louisa. In my mind, she has to go. Francesca did make a crucial mistake of not tasting the food as she made it however, and I reckon this team were very lucky to avoid the boardroom as a real bitch fight would have erupted. Although Neil and Louisa did deliver on the marketing side of the project, when it came to pitching the product, Neil faltered and bored the companies to death with figures about their ‘Oh My Pow!’ dishes.

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And so the programme ended this week with the firing of Dracula himself (Alex). He took too much of a step back as a project manager and let his team walk all over him. The key to any strong management or even team leading is to have the same goals with clear and precise direction. As the final few weeks of the competition approach, the fire, bitchiness and the glares get worse and worse. It’s fantastic! Make sure you don’t miss the next few episodes of The Apprentice or catch it on iPlayer.

 

 

@AdamWollerton