Being an apprentice to “The Apprentice”

You’re fired! That is the famous but dreadful sentence from Donald Trump in the show “The Apprentice

Anyone watched it over Astro couple days ago?

I missed on the previous seasons but for Apprentice 4 (in US, Apprentice 6 will be starting soon), I booked my Wednesday nights to watch it. Yes, it is entertaining and follows in the similar format of the Survivors series (after all, Mark Burnet is the executive producer). But watching closely on Donald Trump’s management & business tips along the time, the show is truly educational (although Donald Trump is not really a good businessman all the time – he almost went bankrupt in the 90’s but good advice is always welcomed, right?).

One was on time management – from week 8:-

Randal from the Excel team made a 10:15 a.m. appointment to meet with Jim Ward of LucasArts and Gary Arnold of Best Buy. Brian who was the Excel’s project manager for the week, a New Yorker, said they could leave at 10 and be there on time. This surprised the team who was not from New York. They all knew they were going to be late. So did I (even journey from my house to work place easily takes 40 minutes). Outside, the team had trouble getting a cab and then got stuck in brutal traffic, making them late for their meeting. Excel team didn’t arrive until after 10:45.

They were so late that Gary and Jim had to cancel their meeting to attend another meeting and they cancelled in style too – all the while when Excel calling them from the mobile that they are on the way, Jim and Gary keep saying “it’s ok we will wait” or “hurry up” and when the Excel finally arrives and apologize (and about to start the discussion), Jim and Gary just closes their laptop and says sorry but they need to attend another meeting and both walks off. What a good “slap in the face” from them.

In the end, Excel lost because they missed out on critical information that they could have gathered from Jim and Gary such as “Darth Vader in the main character in this movie”. They ended up doing a project without any picture of Darth Vader. Assignment aside – Trump was annoyed that 1. Excel kept the Jim & Gary waiting. His point is never keep an executive waiting. 2. They missed on the critical interview with them which could have caused them to win 3. Brian of all the people should have known that it is impossible to reach the studio in 15 minutes time (Trump was particularly not happy when he found out where exactly Brian lives).

In the end, Trump bangs on the table and says to Brian “You’re fired!

Interestingly, the NBC website also have a list of “Lessons Learned” from the show – most of it of useful management and business tips taken against what the teams in the show have done. Examples like these:-

Story: When Randal segmented his event into three distinct phases – tailgating, the softball game, and a party – he established a clear structure to orient his team’s operations.

Success Lesson: Give people the big picture. When they have a clear context for what they are doing, they won’t wander off course.

Be an apprentice to “The Apprentice” and learn the obvious lessons.

[By the way, any chance of hearing “You are fired” to local politicians? Nah, you are not going to see that coming in a million years, at least in Malaysia scenario. All photos were taken from www.nbc.com]

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