The Apprentice: Series 5: Week 4

In week 4 of The Apprentice, the teams were tasked with developing, producing and selling two natural beauty products.

The teams were mixed up again, with Noorul leading what turned out to be the winning team and Paula leading the losing team.  The big learning point from this week was that it is often the most basic of mistakes that can be the most costly.

So let’s compare both of the teams.  As a team leader, Noorul was clearly not leading and any time where a decision needed to be made he looked like a rabbit in the headlights.  There was absolutely nothing in the way of creativity and the product, particularly the soap was awful.  When it came to selling he just could not do it, despite the fact that in one of the clips he would rate himself 10 out 10 when it came to selling.  Yet despite all of this he and his team delivered a profit of just under £500.

Paula by contrast was a great team leader.  She took decisions, made things happen, a good example being the sale of the remaining stock as a single batch.  She was creative and pretty dynamic on the whole.  So what was the big mistake that was made?  Choosing a hugely expensive fragrance and not considering the financial consequences.

So what in summary are the leadership lessons can we learn form this week’s show?

1. A great product, with good marketing and selling is not enough
2. Crunching the numbers might be dull but essential to running any successful organisation
3. Delegation need to be clear and unambiguous
4. It is important to be self aware
5. When in a situation of conflict, choose your tactics wisely
6. Not being an expert in something is not a defence.  If you are the leader, the buck stops with you.

You can watch The Apprentice in the UK every Wednesday evening at 9pm or on the BBCiplayer

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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Janice Robertson says 16 April 2009

I thought Paula’s team clearly had the best product and they did market it beautifully and sold all the stock but I guess if the business is not sustainable then you don’t have a business! Thinking they needed 3g instead of 3% was indeed a fatal error.

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