The Apprentice Week 3: Michael fails to cut the mustard

Jane.jpgHugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and I had a nice little thing going on at one time – until I followed one of his recipes and found I had ingredients left over. After that, I felt I could no longer trust him.

Last night’s programme, to produce and sell a new condiment, found our now mixed-sex teams struggling to follow recipes. The task was carried out in such a ridiculously short time frame that mistakes were inevitable, making this an exercise in flexible thinking and resourcefulness.

The formerly all-male team were joined by the heavily criticised Katie, and in return Duane and Nick were delivered to the females. The mixing of the teams meant that the unlikeable Adam and Ricky demonstrated that they were not one-trick ponies: their patronising and arrogant behaviour showing they are sexist as well as racist.


Duane-Sterling.jpgOn the other team, Nick cast himself in the hero mould: the man who would rescue this floundering group of women. In fact, the self-styled blonde assassin, Katie, did rather well despite leading her team to defeat. She listens, stays calm and is good in a crisis; when Plan A doesn’t work, she can weigh up options and quickly come up with a Plan B.

But she is not so good at thinking strategically, which led to her team floundering at times as they didn’t know what direction to take.

She brought the right people into the boardroom, as neither the hesitant Michael nor bombastic Ricky have yet to score any points. Macho Ricky gave a near perfect demonstration of something called fundamental attribution error – the tendency to take the credit for those aspects that go well and to blame others for mistakes: “The good things that happened were thanks to me – the bad things…the other guys…ugh terrible.”

Michael-Copp.jpgIn fact it was his failings that led to the team’s downfall, but he lacks the insight and awareness to recognise this.

In other words, he lacks one of the key elements that determine potential. He survived because the strain of the task became too great for poor Michael (pictured right).

His field of vision narrowed to the extent that not only was he unable to make decisions, but meant that he also failed to look for support from others.

Duane, who led the winning team, continues to impress. He didn’t listen to Jane as much as he should have, given that this task played to her expertise, but his enthusiasm, energy and clear thinking were again in evidence.

He knew what he wanted from the team from the outset, communicated this well and then performed consistently throughout. It was a help to him that the previously mouthy Jane managed to keep her opinions and criticisms to herself – in public at least – but her body language revealed that she was like a pressure cooker full of anger at her perceived treatment and frustration at not being able to do arithmetic.

Had they lost the task she’d have erupted, which wouldn’t have been nice at all. (I had a pressure cooker incident 35 years ago which left me so emotionally scarred I haven’t used one since.)

There is a group of people, led by Duane, which has now pulled away from the rest, with two people still in the running who have yet to score any points.

The Apprentice League week 3
Duane 10
Katie 7
Nick 7
Gabrielle 6
Jane 5
Azhar 3
Bilyana (Fired week 1) 2
Jade 2
Laura 2
Adam 1
Stephen 1
Tom 1
Michael (Fired week 3) 0
Maria (Fired week 2) 0
Jenna 0
Ricky 0
Binna Kandola

About Binna Kandola

Diversity, Assessment and Development Specialist Professor Binna Kandola is a Business Psychologist, Senior Partner and co-founder of Pearn Kandola.

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