Lord Sugar was right to wave goodbye to Elle Stevenson, Mergim Butaja and April Jackson in the sixth episode of The Apprentice
Photo credit: Boundless
This week on The Apprentice, the candidates were tasked with setting up a handyman company. Lord Sugar pointed out that he would never ask anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself and he wanted the candidates to prove their willingness to get their hands dirty.
Elle and Brett were made project managers. Reflecting the lessons of last week, Sugar chose the candidates with experience in the relevant fields. It was a chance for the two of them to prove their worth to him. Unfortunately, Elle failed to step up and came across as a weak project manager who was unwilling to take responsibility. Moreover, she did nothing to suggest that she has experience of managing projects such as this, as her CV had led Sugar to believe. On the other hand, Brett did well with his team and Joseph was praised by Lord Sugar for doing a particularly good job, albeit for the losing team. Elle ultimately handed project manager duties over to him, which ended up costing her.
As always, there were some valuable lessons to be learnt from last night's episode.
Don’t expect people to do what you wouldn’t yourself
As Lord Sugar pointed out, it’s important to lead by example and even if the roles you assign to your team aren’t roles you’ve had yourself, you need to understand what the roles entail and be able to guide them under your leadership. Equally, it’s important as a leader not to be so confident in your own ability that you only talk about what you’re good at – something Brett is in danger of doing.
Stay focused on your goal
As a leader, it’s important to have a focus on the end goal and to stay true to your strategy. In this week’s episode, Sugar was faced with a tough decision regarding Mergim, whose back story and boardroom speech were admirable. But Sugar recognised that he wasn’t business partner material and fired him, despite his clear popularity amongst the other candidates and subsequently with the audience in the You’re Fired spin-off show.
Manage customers' expectations
Vana stepped up this week when she took control of the garden task. Scott was exuberant in his approach to winning the work but his promises were unrealistic. The client would have been disappointed by the final result based on Scott’s original pitch.
It’s essential in business to make realistic promises to your customers. When providing an ongoing service, maintaining those expectations and being honest about what can be achieved is essential in ensuring satisfaction for all parties involved.
Step up and get involved
April’s departure from the process resulted from Sugar’s belief that she had been ‘standing back’ too much in the process. As a leader and as a team member, failure to contribute to a team activity is sure to land you in trouble. Whether directly impacting the outcome of the task or simply damaging your reputation and affecting your future success, your absence on a project will be detrimental and it’s important to be seen contributing and supporting everyone around you at all times.
The decision to fire three people this week was unprecedented but fair. Elle was incredibly weak and April did appear to be hiding in the background, so they had to go. Mergim is another matter; he showed a lot of entrepreneurial spirit but Sugar’s assessment that he would be a better candidate if he had more experience was on the money.