The Apprentice: Series 5: Week 6

In the week 6 of The Apprentice, the teams were given 10 items to sell.  They were required to do research, identify the gems and then sell.  As ever there were a few red herrings.

This week Sir Alan chose two of the more vocal and potentially more confident candiadates to lead the teams.  Philip led one team and Ben the other.

It seemed like Philip had learned from the past when he started off by trying to clear the air with Lorraine who there had been conflict in the past.  While this was a very positive step, sadly it did not last and throughout the task he did not listen effectively.  One thing that he failed to consider was the contribution that Lorraine was trying to make about a rug (which turned out to be one of the most valuable items) and as a result the team ended up making a net loss of £34.

Ben, as leader of Empire was totally confident in himself and was determined to lead from the front, taking 7 out of the 10 items for his sub-team and allocating 3 to the other sub-team.  The results were even worse than Philip’s team, a net loss of £169.

While it is easy to sit and watch and make observations when you were not the person doing the task, there were some real big learning points for leaders:

  1. If you are going to be selling something, you need to make the time to do some proper research into what the items are worth.
  2. The leader needs to take the time to determine the different roles that need to be performed and then assign these so that all of the key things are covered.
  3. You need to have some plan of attack.  It seemed that neither of the teams had thought much about where they might find some buyers for the items they were selling.  This could have saved them time.
  4. You always need to be willing to listen.  In reality, it would have taken very little time for Lorraine to determine whether the carpet was valuable or not.  Philip could have made the decision to let her have a set period of time to do the research.
  5. The job of the leader is not to be macho superman or wonderwoman.  It is to lead the team.  Ben, by deciding that 7 of the items would be taken by his sub-team was trying to be superman rather than leading.
  6. You need to be able to acknowledge what you don’t know.  Philip was speaking like he knew with certainty that the rug was worth nothing when he clearly did not know.   

The tasks are clearly becoming more challenging week by week and I am sure more insight about the leadership capabilities or otherwise is going to emerge in the coming weeks.

You can watch The Apprentice at 9pm every Wednesday on BBC One or check out the website by clicking here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

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.

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3 comments
Janice Robertson says 1 May 2009

I thought this was a very challenging project for the two teams and of course they didn’t have a lot of time which I think led them to rush on without really thinking things through. As you point out Duncan neither team had a plan of attack.

You have made some really good points – I think Phillip and Ben could learn a lot from reading this!

If I hear Ben say one more time that he had a scholarship to Sandhurst I will scream! He hasn’t even been yet! And is he even going!

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