The Apprentice Assessed: Week 6 - Alex is Germ-o-nated
Octiclean’s “8 hands are better than 2” and the Germ-o-nator’s “Hasta la Vista gravy” brought back cringeworthly memories of the legendary ‘Pants Man’, as the annual marketing and advertising task hit a series high.
No one really shone this week, particularly the two project managers. Christopher’s team’s octopus concept culminated in a toe curlingly sexist TV advert. The whole approach showing a lack of judgement (Intellect) on Christopher’s part; completely misjudging his target audience and apparently which decade he was living in. Stating that his onscreen wife shouldn’t be “a minger” showed a serious lack of diversity awareness.
Given his past performance, Alex’s behaviour on this task wasn’t entirely surprising. Despite his claims to be super creative (“if I was an apple pie, the apples inside would be orange”) he failed to display any evidence to support it, as he stumbled from one bad decision to another, dismissing the ideas of others and making heinous decisions on packaging colours, before doing a huge u-turn in the boardroom, claiming that he “managed creatives” and wasn’t one himself. No Kidding!
There was a clear failure of both project managers to use their strengths within their team to their best advantage (Intellect). Whilst Christopher recognised that his team had “Jojo as their secret ally”, he then apparently made no effort to consult her on key decisions or listen to her feedback. The Octiclean concept paid off in the end, but all of Jo’s objections were railroaded by Christopher.
Alex also failed to utilise his team’s abilities, failing to match people to the right tasks by getting Chris (Investment Banker) to direct the TV advert, and not utilising Laura’s marketing experience. Surprisingly the choice of Stuart “the brand” Baggs to lead on the radio advert seemed a match made in heaven, although was perhaps a more a question of luck than good judgement.
Aside from the Team Leaders, a few others stood out this week. Laura continued her cries of “it’s not fair”. Her view seems to be that others are failing to recognise her expertise, yet she seems to accept no responsibility for the fact she has failed to successfully persuade others of this (low Emotional Intelligence). If she spent as much energy positively contributing to the task as she does complaining she’d have been hired weeks ago.
Chris came to the fore this week. His Germ-o-nator suggestion was eventually taken forward, but the TV advert for which he was largely responsible was identified as a key part of the team’s failure. He seemed to take this criticism gracefully however, and unlike others appeared willing to accept his mistakes, even saying, when Alex selected him and Sandeesh to return to the boardroom, that “I can understand why you’re taking me in there, but why Sandeesh?”. This showed strong Values and some initial Learning Agility in his willingness to take responsibility for his mistake. In an embarrassing contrast to Alex, Chris’s calm, controlled approach in the Boardroom (high resilience/Emotional Intelligence) was also worthy of comment.
Alex’s final poor judgement was taking Sandeesh into the Boardroom (Intellect). As Lord Sugar pointed out, perhaps Alex’s motivation was based on the sense that Sandeesh was potentially on the line following last week’s episode. However, his dodgy rationale for bringing her in (that she had failed to communicate something from the focus group that had also been attended by others in the team), meant that Lord Sugar did not even consider her. If Alex had wanted to play this game, you can’t help thinking a better bet would have been Laura … not that we would want to encourage that kind of behaviour.
A final word on Nick Hewer, who we are loving this series! Whether he has a writer for his quips and sound bites, or is simply a comedy genius, we just don’t know. But the combination of his facial expressions and withering put downs are the making of this series; perhaps Margaret was holding him back.
Philippa leads the R&D team at a&dc, managing a team of psychologists and software developers to deliver innovative assessment and development solutions. Philippa believes passionately in the value of psychological research to inform and produce effective, engaging and evidence-based tools.