Well the 2011 series of the UK Apprentice kicked off last night. Very familiar format with one big difference. Until now all the candidates were competing for a £100,000 job working for Lord Sugar. This year they are competing for £250,000 to get them started in business and the opportunity to have Lord Sugar as a business partner.
As is always the case the first task gives the candidates a very simple business task to show what they can do and give them the opportunity to demonstrate a good grasp of business basics.
This year the teams were given £250 each to buy some fresh produce and convert it into something they could sell.
The good news was that both teams made a decent return on the investment. The girls team came out the winners making a bigger return than the boys.
There were some individual moments of brilliance. One being one of the guys negotiating successfully to get the entire ingredients for the soup for £40.
And there were many lessons too. Here are some of that I picked up:
You Have Got To Have A Plan
From what we saw it looked like the teams got a return more out of luck rather than having any coherent strategy.
The Detail Matters
Lord Sugar referred to basic accounting skills not being used by the boys team. For any product you need to know the cost and have a pricing strategy.
Make Sure You And Your Team Play To Your Strengths
The Accountant who got fired did himself no favours by not using his own financial skills and the skills of other team members appropriately. I understand that he wanted to show that he was capable of more but sometimes you just need to start doing what you do best and then build from there.
Recognise The Collective Contributions
The project manager of the girls team did well but seemed to be taking credit for everything, especially in the boardroom. The reality is that it is the collective contributions of the team that gets the result.
I am sure that there are going to be many more lessons to come.
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps accountants and health professionals to become highly effective leaders and managers. You can sign up for his free weekly leadership and management success tips here.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 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.