Monday, 13 June 2011

#TheApprentice - a rather late analysis

Last week's episode of The Apprentice produced a record result in the Boardroom.  The task - to collect rubbish from homes and businesses, and somehow turn it into profit - was a fiendishly difficult one, and in the end the winning team were ahead by just £6.

Six quid!  That was it.

All this is very interesting, but what I found even more interesting was what happened after the results were announced.  The ecstatic victors were whisked away to a luxury spa treatment (presumably to exfoliate the skin of their teeth) while the hapless losers were left to face the wrath of Lord Sugar.

But why was he angry?  The team who lost this task floundered about on the first day, it is true, and they made some very poor decisions (although it is always easy to say such things, with the benefit of hindsight - the winning team's choices were described as "a massive gamble" before we knew they'd won, but "a brilliant strategy" afterwards) but on the second day, they rallied together, worked very well as a team, and more than made up for that disastrous day one.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no cause for anger here - no cause for anyone to be fired, just yet.  Both teams returned a reasonable profit (and to be making a profit at all, on such a hard task, is a triumph, in my book!) and that tiny six-pound margin proves that both teams, in the end, were evenly matched.

But the rules of The Apprentice say that Lord Sugar has to be angry - and that he has to fire someone.  Even if there is no cause for anger.  What surprised me more, was the behaviour of the losing team…

As I mentioned, they did start off very shakily - but by the end of the second day on the task, they had completely turned things around, and were working very well together.  They had a camaraderie, and a rapport - they actually worked like a team, rather than a group of individuals thrown together by circumstance.

Then, as soon as they heard that they had lost, that team spirit evaporated, and they turned on each other in the Boardroom.

At the time, this seemed worse, to me, than hearing that the team had made a loss.

Lord Sugar asked them, as he always does, "who is responsible for the failure of this task?"  I was willing them to say "no one!  There was no 'failure' in this task - we were just as good as the other team, and we were unlucky to have lost by under a tenner.  No one should be fired this week, because the task was not a 'failure' at all."

But no!  They behaved in the way they have been led to believe is "expected", and instantly scrambled to bitch about each other, and apportion blame.  Each candidate was sickeningly eager to smear the other team members in front of Lord Sugar - when mere hours ago, they had been supporting each other, and pulling together for a common cause.

I do, of course, realise that the very nature of The Apprentice is that it is, in the end, an individual competition - and that even your team-mates are, therefore, also your rivals.  But I felt it was a shame, in a task like this one, to see attitudes change so quickly.

I wonder what Lord Sugar would have done, had they not acted so - if they had stood their ground together, as a team, and refused to accept that anyone was responsible for the supposed "failure".  After all, having fired two candidates in one episode the week before, he surely had the luxury of letting them off for one week?

I guess, now, we'll never know.  I just think it might have been interesting to see what would've happened.

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