Business is about working with people, and if you can’t get along with others it could spell trouble

Alana Spencer, Lord Sugar’s business partner and winner of 2016’s The Apprentice, explains why being a team player is essential in business – and how constant arguing is unnecessary and only distracts you from the main goal

Business is about working with people

Alana Spencer, Lord Sugar’s business partner and winner
of 2016’s The Apprentice, explains why being a team player is essential in
business – and how constant arguing is unnecessary and only distracts you from
the main goal

This week’s task on The Apprentice saw contestants create a rollercoaster ride through virtual reality. It was a task that not only tested the contestants on their business skills, but also their creativity. I believe you need to be pretty creative in business because you need to be able to come up with ideas. One of the biggest things you need to be able to do is to accept when an idea hasn’t quite gone right, and have ten ideas in the back pocket to replace it. This was a good task for Lord Sugar to see who was able to mix business with creativity.

We had Scarlett and Carina as project managers this week. Carina owns a bakery so it was quite exciting to see what else she could do in the task. She was actually project manager before, and therefore showed that she isn’t scared to put herself out there which is a really great trait. Those two seem quite strong so far throughout this season. We haven’t seen too much of Scarlett in the competition, but across everything we’ve seen she’s not been causing drama, she’s been coming up with good ideas and coming across as someone quite astute. Carina has won a challenge before as project manager and she also owns a bakery, which is quite a good trait I shall say. These were two strong candidates going against each other.

There were two pretty good concepts for the rollercoasters. However, there was definitely one better concept for the beginning, and that was Carina’s team. As a team, they showed that they have incredible creativity. They had this idea of being in a dream and then falling back into a nightmare, which I think was so clever. They obviously really thought about creating something exciting and marketable.

The other team went for something very obvious and actually not very creative. They went with the “we want to be the fastest and the biggest” which is something that does get people onto rollercoasters. If you’re someone that’s into theme parks, you’d want to ride the rollercoaster that is the most exhilarating with many spins and loops. But they failed to market their main selling point – that their rollercoaster broke records for having the most many loops. And it was a shame they didn’t put that on the poster. I thought their logo was quite good, but they failed to pool in all of their information together for the poster. And ultimately, that’s what’s going to sell your ride. If you have people walking around a theme park and there’s a new ride, they’re going to look at the poster and consider why they’d choose that particular ride. And I think the poster wasn’t conveying all that the rollercoaster had to offer.

As for the other team’s poster, I think they were very lucky they had such a strong idea. And that was really what won it for them. All they’ve done was created a virtual reality version. If they were to actually put this into action, I’m confident that based on their idea they could have created something really cool.

We saw Thomas and Lottie have a bit of conflict during the task. Those two clearly struggled to work with each other. Scarlett was 100 percent right to split them up on the second day. That showed really good management from her. If there is conflict in a team and people are not getting on, not every leader would take action. Some people would leave them because they think if these two fall out and we lose, they’ll pit against each other in the boardroom. But Scarlett saw the bigger picture and wanted to win the task and so split them up on the second day, and I was really impressed with that. Even though it was only a small move, it’s those little things that show how one is able to manage a team and understand people. Scarlett owns a recruitment company and understands people and how they work. I thought she was a really good project manager in this team. What let her down was their concept, it didn’t come together like how she wanted. I don’t think she was to blame for that. She was very much led on by Thomas, who is a very big character. She trusted his idea but it just didn’t pull together. The design team and the logo really let them down, it was quite a shame. But how could they win against the idea that Carina’s team had? I would go on that ride. It’s something interesting. Rather than Scarlet’s team that came up with quite a standard ride I’d say.

It was really said that Iasha got fired. I’m so sad to see Iasha go. She hasn’t blossomed as much as she could have done in this process but I think she still had a lot more to give. She slightly fell into the background and was overshadowed by some of the other bigger characters. But when we have seen her, she’s done really good things and she’s shown how good she is at selling a story and pitching. Which is why I was surprised she couldn’t pitch her way out of trouble in this task. I think out of the two in the boardroom, Dean and Iasha, I would have fired Dean. Purely because Iasha has brought more to the table in this process than Dean has. However, I think it was a close battle between the two of them. I’m also thinking maybe it’s time for Lottie to go. She’s clearly not getting on with anyone and she’s not so positive about making friends. Scarlett was right when she said business is about working with people. It’s fine if you’re a sole trader. But if you’re going to grow a business, you’re going to have to recruit, employ and manage others. If you’re not able to see eye to eye with someone and continuously bicker or argue all the time, then you’re never going to get any work done. Lottie’s not for me. She’s a character that I’m glad I didn’t have encounter during my time at The Apprentice. By the looks of it, she’s making it quite difficult for everyone. It’s time for Lottie to go.

Alana Spencer
Alana Spencer

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