Leadership lessons in abundance on The Apprentice last night. As any leader knows, it’s no good taking action if you’re not sure of the outcome and you haven’t engaged your team and taken them with you, because a good leader recognises and values the differences that people bring to the team, and uses these to shape the future success of the business or project.


The Apprentice is back, and already I’m hooked!


While we are yet to meet all the contestants in more depth, we got ample chance to see accountant Ed Hunter in all his glory, and from a developing leadership skills point of view he gave me plenty to write about. He wrote on his resume that he would be a dream for Lord Sugar. Lord Sugar thought he was a nightmare!


A good leader knows that without a vision, the team doesn’t know what success looks like, and without a plan, how they will achieve this. What you end up with is a lot of people in the business being busy doing not quite the right thing, or even worse, a culture of malicious obedience. Either of these spells failure long term for any business.


Ed Hunter demonstrated enthusiasm and confidence – your classic activist. He was the person on the team who just wanted to get on with it and trust the plan would emerge as the task evolved. Act now – deal with the consequences later.


Though a trained accountant, he failed to apply these skills to the task, so fundamental details regarding cost, return and profit were missed. Unfortunately for him, his team needed the bigger picture to work towards, and needed to know what the plan was to help achieve the desired outcome. Rather than use the skills within the team, his response when challenged was a rather unhelpful – “roll with the punches”.  


An old Japanese proverb states that “a vision without a plan is a daydream, a plan without vision is a nightmare”, and I can’t think of a more apt occasion for this to be true.


Karen Murphy

Muika Leadership

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