Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 3: Run Hotel and Spa for dogs

My two cents on The Apprentice
Week 3
Task : Run a Hotel and Spa for dogs.
Judged on:

* Execution of responsibilities
* Creativity and sustainability of the value add
* Overall experience

Wow ! Week 3 started on a very sour note. You would think there was a memo to “attack” Liza.
Stephanie suggests that Liza “shut up, accept what people say and move on, learn from it”.

 It’s about time James stepped up as PM for Octane. He looks very confident about this task. David is readying himself to make Jame’s job as PM extremely difficult. Wade came up with the value add; A log that shows the owners what the dogs have been doing the whole day.James assigns the most important component of the task to Dave. Dave has to set up the web-cams.
James makes a huge mistake by not giving audience to the owner, hence the expression “dollar waiting on a dime”. It does not matter how much planning you do or how brilliant your ideas are. If your product or service is not meeting the owner’s needs then you will still fail.This is a service delivery task. Services are not really tangible and James should have listened to the owner of the business so they could learn the business from someone who does this day in day out. It’s more like on-the job training.

It’s not clear why David is involved with the props and trying to make nails out of binder clips. At what point was he going to start on the web-cams? James did what most project managers have thought of doing numerous times before: benching a troublesome team-member. A good PM should know how to manage a difficult team-member. But what if you are on a strict deadline? Get rid of the distraction. Why was everyone trying to talk at the same time during the presentation to Cesar Millan? It gives the impression that they are not that organized. They should have let James handle the presentation.

In Fortitude’s fortress, Tyana looks like she’s trying her best to delegate but why put Mahsa to work directly with the dogs when she has clearly stated that she is scared of dogs. This does not augur well with Mahsa who in turn calls Tyana a “jealous cow” and thus it’s time for her to go home. I am not sure jealousy would hold up as a reason to get Mr Trump to fire Tyana though.The ladies seem to be faring well, but it seems the team is looking for any flimsy reason to gang up against Liza. I guess, their strategy is get rid of the strongest member of the team who also happens to be the biggest threat.If anyone has worked with computers, designing websites, graphic design etc, we know things always go wrong when you least expect it. Their value add which includes a photo and a description of what the dog did is good but not really out of this world.

In the boardroom, the “attack” on Liza continues with one of the team members bringing up an incident that did not even have to do with this particular task; the allegation that Liza called one of her team-mates a b****. The ladies are already baying for Liza’s blood yet they are not even sure whether they lost or won.

I still do not understand why David survived the boardroom. It might be because James made it very easy to get fired and literally gave David a new lease of life. David is like the proverbial “cat with nine lives”. Wade was as surprised as most of us that he was brought back to the boardroom.

I do hope that Wade will step up and show us how to manage David. If he can, then he should be the next apprentice because the real world of business is full of people like David who are very difficult to work with and do not care for leadership.

In the end though, despite of everything, Octane lost because of the PM. I have a feeling not listening to the owner was the biggest mistake of this task.

My Verdict:
Execution of responsibilities
Creativity & sustainability of value add
Overall experience

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