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HR Insights - Extra 
Over the next few weeks and whilst The Apprentice is being shown on the BBC, we will be running a second blog, concentrating on the programme and the candidates... *** Spoiler Alert*** - the following blog will reveal the results of this week's episode. 

23rd May 2013 
 
“It looks like you herded your buffalo team quite well in the end.” Lord Sugar, Episode 4 
 
There was much anticipation ahead of tonight's episode of The Apprentice; just how the numerous divas amongst the Candidates would behave when faced with the inevitable sights, smells and sounds of the countryside, was bound to be a fascinating display of human behaviour and we were not disappointed. In fact, the whole episode was so packed with verbal and visual gems that it is really difficult to know where to start... 
 
Or perhaps not that difficult; I think the sight of Alex holding up a bunch of carrots and asking 'what are these?' sums up the degree of cluelessness with which this task was conducted by both teams. As I watched, I was reminded of my somewhat long-winded dissertation title "Compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act in the NHS ~ Good Luck or Good Management" - the last five words being the critical phrase here; 'Good Luck or Good Management'. 
 
Both teams did not really show that they had a particularly good grasp of the management of the task and it was sheer luck that either of them made any profit at all. In fact, we probably can’t be absolutely certain that there was any profit in the task at all, given the figures only took account of sales over initial outlay and did not take into account waste; of which I am sure there was plenty to be found in the bins behind those two shops after the front doors had closed. 
 
The question I posed last week was very quickly answered as the teams were divided up by Lord Sugar, who proudly proclaimed that there ‘would be at least one girl in the winning team this week’... That question being; who would bring the most influence to the task this week – the boys, who up until now had appeared to be ‘Performing’ or the girls, who were still very much in the ‘Storming’ phase of Tuckman’s model of the Stages of Team Development. 
 
And the [proud] winners of this unofficial sub-task were... ta dah; the ‘girls’, who finally managed to win something by instilling a culture of posturing, back-biting and chaos into both Endeavour and Evolve and giving the boys an opportunity to see first-hand why they have been the most successful team in all of the tasks thus far. 
 
Luisa was appointed as the Project Manager for Evolve – formerly the ‘girls’ team and she was very keen to be the person who project managed this team to their first win. Whilst she did in fact achieve this; it was only through sheer good luck, the ‘exotic meat’ market and the fact that her sub-team chose to ignore her instruction to ‘only buy a few vegetables to ‘dress’ the shop’ and bought a reasonable amount of stock to actually sell, that this win was achieved. 
 
If it was down to Luisa, the task would have been turned from a ‘farm shop’ into a ‘jacket-spud van’ and would have failed spectacularly; with only 20 jacket potatoes out of a projected 150 sold! Her second idea of selling soup alongside the jacket potatoes, whilst more successful, still only achieved 35% of the projected sales. However, the look on Luisa’s face as the team left the Boardroom strongly suggests that she lacks any self-awareness of her own failings in that task (or any of the preceding ones for that matter!) and also showed her complete inability to work as part of a team... If I were to lay odds, I would say that she won’t last much longer in the process... 
 
As the Project Manager on the losing team, Neil’s tenure in the competition looked like it might have been short-lived; but his ‘cunning ploy’ to bring Uzma into the Board Room, knowing that she’d already been issued with a ‘warning’ from Lord Sugar the week before was perhaps his saviour. Though to be fair to Neil; his assessment of Uzma’s contribution to the task was absolutely spot-on. 
 
The Candidates who have been 'fired' so far... who will be next?? 
Having confidently stated in the car at the start of the task that she could perform in whatever role she was given, she then proceeded to spend the duration of the task looking totally lost and like she had no idea of what she was doing there. Natalie summed Uzma up by saying ‘I don’t think Uzma has a business mind at all; I don’t even think she knows what a margin is.’ Although the irony of that remark is that it came from a woman who can’t tell the difference between a cow, horse and a dog!!! 
Is it a Cow... a Horse... or a Dog?? Whatever you do, don't ask Natalie!!! 
Kurt finally made a pitch for glory in this task; throwing his hat into the ring with his idea to sell milk-shakes, which in truth turned out to be the biggest selling item across both teams. Sadly for Kurt though, he wasn’t covered in the ‘glory’ he clearly had expected to be, but found himself being blamed for the failure of the task; making the biggest mistake that businesses and individuals can make – that of ‘over-promising and under-delivering’. 
 
Although they did sell 113 milk shakes throughout the day; that only amounted to 57% of the 200 he had promised to deliver. What he failed to take into account was that to sell 200 milk-shakes in the time they had in the shop, they would have to sell 25 every hour – with only a couple of ‘domestic’ blenders to make them with, was this ever an achievable target? I think not... 
 
Whilst Kurt’s unrealistic target was a factor in the failure of the task; in my mind the biggest failure of this task (for both teams really), is their on-going failure to recognise and use the individual candidates' strengths to place them into roles within the team to which they are suited. For instance; if Kurt had relinquished his recipe to Uzma or another member of the team to actually make the milk-shakes, he could have used his passion and enthusiasm for the product (okay, so I'm certain it is in him... somewhere!) to sell it out front... The world is full of ‘what-if’s’; but given the choice of buying from a ‘glum-faced’ Uzma, who looked like she would be happier having hot-pins stuck in her eyes or someone who could display some enthusiasm for the product – who would you choose? 
 
In relation to team roles, Dr Meredith Belbin stated that they are ‘...a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.’ He defined nine roles within a team and then categorised these into three themes, as outlined below: 
Category 
Role 1 
Role 2 
Role 3 
Action Oriented Roles 
Shaper 
Implementer 
Completer-finisher 
People Centred Roles 
Co-ordinator ('Leader') 
Team-worker 
Resource-investigator 
Cerebral Roles 
Plant 
Specialist 
Monitor-evaluator 
At the moment; it is apparent that there are too many ‘Co-ordinators’ (those who want to lead but not do the work) and ‘Specialists’ (contribute to the team but have a narrow field of vision) amongst the candidates. Without the other roles, there might be some sort of vision for the task, but there is no-one providing real direction, planning or actually doing the implementation.  
 
Consequently, whilst they will complete the tasks set for them, they will do so without any real strategy in place and will continue to squabble and run around like ‘headless chickens’, without really achieving anything. And on that basis, would you want to invest your £250,000 in any of them? 
Next week they are going to Dubai to gather a number of items for the opening of a prestigious hotel; add a foreign language and culture to the mix and based on their performance thus far, I predict absolute carnage!!!! 
Before I close; a classic quote from Alex that deserves to be shared... “Are we going to do any dressing up, I could be a scarecrow.”  
 
With those eyebrows, I would think you definitely could be!!!! 
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