6 Learning Points From The Apprentice 2011 Final

So we reached the end of the process on The Apprentice 2011 here in the UK last night.

After 12 weeks of varied tasks Tom emerged as the person who was going to be Lord Sugar’s business partner.

As is always the case there were many learning points that arose.

  1. If you are going into business with an investment there has to be a return for the investor.  Jim’s idea of a not for profit venture was way off the mark and resulted in him being first to be eliminated.
  2. You have to balance aiming high with a degree of realism.  Susan was aiming to make a profit of around £1m in year 1.  While on one hand you might applaud her self belief, it demonstrated a huge gap in commercial awareness.  Of course aim high but don’t set yourself up to fail.
  3. You have to think about scalability.  Investing £250,000 even for a multi millionaire is not something they are going to do without seeing the longer term potential.  Helen seemed to miss that point with her proposition.
  4. You have to demonstrate potential.  One thing that Tom demonstrated that the others did not was a ton of potential.  After all he had already shown that he could create something, get in front of key decision makers and get a product into major retailers.
  5. There is a big difference between being a leader and an entrepreneur.  It was clear that had Lord Sugar been giving someone a job that Helen would have been the runaway winner.  She was a good leader, organised, focused and able to mobilise others to achieve a result.  Sadly however her business idea failed to live up to expectations.
  6. Running a business requires competence in a number of areas.  Jim is clearly a great salesman but maybe did not have the broader commercial expertise.  Helen was clearly talented but like Jim seemed to lack that bit of flair at the end of the day.

Without doubt it is easy to sit and see what is working and what is not working from a distance.  Being part and parcel of the process is a bit different.  Personally I was delighted to see Tom emerge as the winner.  For me he had a really unique combination of skills and qualities.  He clearly is very creative and at the same time pays attention to the detail.  We saw this time and time again during the process.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professional people to become highly effective leaders and managers.  He invites you to sign up for his free audio e-course Leadership Success.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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