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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. 

3rd July 2013 
 
”Have you guys made a decision?" Karren Brady, Episode 10 
 
This week the teams were set the challenge of growing a business in 48 hours, with only £150 to start with and an objective of amassing the most value in cash and assets at the end of the task. The balance between males and females was restored at the end of last week and as suspected, Lord Sugar turned this into a challenge of ‘boys v. girls’; so who would come out on top in this epic 'battle of the sexes'... 
 
The task brought about a transformation in both teams; sadly for the boys theirs was a negative transformation whilst the girls actually flourished... Now there’s a phrase I wouldn’t have expected to have used at the start of this process. 
 
For the girls, this was a perfect task at this time to allow them to perform as a team. At this stage of the competition; the ‘egos’ have diminished, not in ‘size’ but in numbers and finally, they recognised that they had a shared goal, which was to ‘beat the boys’ and to get to the final five. Although Leah and Luisa put themselves forward as Project Manager, there was no disagreement or obvious resentment when Francesca cast her vote for Luisa and from that point on, they did pull together as a team to meet the task head-on... 
 
It also helped that they clearly had a shared interest in ‘fashion’ - though, given the state of some of the leggings they were trying to sell, I’m not sure that ‘fashion’ is perhaps the most appropriate word... Or is it just that I am getting very old... Answers on a postcard to...!!!! 
 
Luisa herself also appeared quite subdued and less irritating than in previous weeks; this could mean that she has started to become more self-aware and has taken on board some of the comments that have been directed her way in the Boardroom; or it could be that someone in the house finally decided to put some sedative in her coffee!!!! It will be interesting to watch if this transformation continues during the final couple of weeks, when it very much becomes an ‘individual’ effort to get to that final hurdle. 
 
So as the girls team finally climbed the ladder from 'storming' to that elusive ‘performing’ stage of Tuckman’s Model of Team Development; the boys team, slid back down the ‘snake’ from 'norming' to the first ‘forming’ stage... 
The Tuckmans' model has been very evident throughout this series with movement up or down through each stage with every minor change to the teams... 
 
Myles and Jordan went ‘head to head’ for the Project Manager role and although Neil sided with Myles, it was obvious fairly quickly that this was a big mistake. I suspect had this been a mixed team, with Luisa on this side; we would have seen the ‘second coup’ in the history of The Apprentice, coming only two weeks after the first... 
 
Reflecting back on the series; whilst Myles had found himself in the winning team for the first few weeks at a time when there were more members in each team; as those numbers have dropped away he has become more exposed and this has highlighted some significant ‘weaknesses’ in his performance, not least of which was his inability to act quickly and decisively. 
 
This was the second time Myles had been Project Manager and thinking back to his first attempt when the candidates were in Dubai; he was the one who decided to wait for over an hour at the ‘flag’ manufacturers for the flag, rather than placing the order and then going to get some of the other items whilst the flag was being made... He also didn’t ask to speak to the manager in the garden centre to try and obtain the best discount on the plant for the hotel, which resulted in his team paying two or three times the amount that was paid by the other team for the same item. His saving grace on this occasion though, was that Zee was project managing the other team and he turned out to be marginally worse than Myles on that score!!! 
 
The purpose of this task was to sell a range of items on the market stall and then work out what the best seller was; reduce the range to focus on those best sellers and grow the assets of the business by selling to a slightly different market on day two from a shop rather than a stall; in the words of Lord Sugar, this was about ‘smelling what was selling’ and as pointed out by him in the Boardroom, the boys ‘noses’ were very definitely ‘blocked’ on this one... 
 
Having had to be prompted by Karren to actually make a decision about what they were going to sell, they opted for ‘home wares’. Whilst the sensible option would have been to try to get some volume on quirky mugs/cups/glasses to sell alongside their higher value ceramics, without any clear strategy or leadership from Myles, they ended up with a bit of a ‘mish-mash’ of items that people are not necessarily going to go out and buy on a day-to-day basis. 
 
Back in the Boardroom; whilst it was pretty obvious very early on in the show that Myles would be the one to go; there was an eleventh hour attempt by Jordan to sabotage that and to get himself fired instead of Myles...  
 
On what planet is he living; to believe that he could present to Lord Sugar, a business plan that turns from a 50/50 partnership into a 33.3/33.3/33.3 partnership??? I suspect that if Jordan wants to pursue a business plan that involves a third partner, he will very quickly need to readjust his figures to reflect a 50/25/25 ratio and if there are any savvy software engineers out there, they will probably turn that into a 50/10/40 ratio – as I suspect Jordan needs them a great deal more than they need him!!! 
 
Ultimately though, a timely ‘gag’ – as in ‘almost vomiting’ as opposed to ‘telling a joke’ by Jordan, meant that Lord Sugar’s ‘fickle finger of fate’ came to rest on Myles and ‘Mr Monaco’ was sent firmly back to ‘parc ferme’... 
With Myles' departure, we are now down to the final five and next week, 'five become two'... 
So with the result that there will be more girls than boys in the final five, it seems like I might need to eat one of those hats that the girls were selling in their shop, as this was not a result I had predicted at all!!! With the interview round next week; here’s a revised look at those odds, produced again for a bit of fun and with the help of my good friend, Kevin Hopgood... 
 
Neil - 2/1 favourite; although Lord Sugar intimated that he was perhaps a bit of a ‘one-trick pony’, he has been the most consistent candidate from the start and I suspect will be able to hold his own in the interview stage... 
 
Leah – 5/2; is the quiet candidate, but has consistently shown herself to be willing to participate in the tasks and do what is asked of her. I suspect she might be another ‘Inventor Tom’ who will be able to pull something new out of the bag when the pressure’s on... 
Francesca – 3/1; continues to plod through the process, hasn’t done anything disastrous as yet, but nor has she done anything outstanding. Hasn’t given away any clues about her business plan as yet and as such may pull something special out of the bag and upset the odds... 
Luisa –5/1; has increased her chances this week with her more subdued approach to being the Project Manager, but still remains an outsider; purely because I suspect that she won’t have transformed entirely and will be back to her ‘slightly irritating’ form next week... 
Jordan – 8/1; was the dark horse in the competition, but emerged into the light this week to expose himself as a bit of an ‘ass’, who is probably more likely to find himself heading to the ‘glue factory’ than the Boardroom... 
 
And, given the preview of those interviews; who do people think is on the other side of the table when Claude Littner announces ‘...you are a parasite, this interview is terminated’. I for one, can’t wait to watch it and find out... 
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