This weekend saw three people in different TV programmes deservedly crowned winners: actress Kara Tointon got her hands on the Strictly Come Dancing glitterball, Grand National winner and champion jockey Tony McCoy became Sports Personality of the Year and Stella English was hired as Lord Sugar's Apprentice.
The final programme pitted investment bank back office manager Stella against investment bank front office specialist Chris Bates in a task to design and market a new alcoholic drink. They both had some great qualities but the programme highlighted key differences between them.
Chris places a lot of pressure on himself by taking the lead in as many aspects of the tasks as possible - he had to come up with the ideas, direct the ad and write the pitch. His progress to the final has been dependent on flashes of effectiveness (Chris himself referred to them as 'moments' and Lord Sugar as 'sparks'): the selling of the unusual but highly priced dress, the telling of tall stories to negotiate for products and the commission deal for the ticket agency. Last night was no different as the team waited for his latest 'moment' but this time it wasn't quite good enough.
Stella on the other hand has many team leadership strengths. She sets direction well and delegates effectively, qualities which have been derided as being 'organisational' and 'corporate'. It could be argued that she had the weaker team but she managed them well and used them to draw out ideas and approaches. Her colleagues felt included and able to contribute.
When she felt that their input was not being helpful she then took it upon herself to do what was needed. She may not be as innovative as Chris in the sense that she won't come up with all of the ideas but she creates a better environment for creativity to flourish. Under pressure Chris tends to withdraw and isolate himself from others, whereas Stella uses the tensions and conflicts of the team as a source of strength.
Chris was rather lucky to be in the final I think because his flashes have been overrated but it goes to show what can happen if assessors choose to focus on certain eye catching events and lose sight of the bigger picture. Nevertheless he is a good candidate and whilst he is more of an individualist than Stella he is younger and has shown a great and willing capacity to learn. Stella though is a worthy winner.