Blog Post by Nigel Povah, Managing Director, A&DC
Well first blood to the girls and deservedly so, given the shambolic performance of the boys, although, somewhat surprisingly, there was only £15 in it. As always with the first episode, both teams started warily, using this first task as an opportunity to size up the competition. There was little disagreement in the selection of team names, with the notable exception of Stuart who showed the first signs of an argumentative nature – later borne out in the Boardroom as he admitted his inability to deal with criticism apparently from anyone but Lord Sugar. More interesting was the “selection” of Project Managers, when Dan came out with the confrontational “Yeah I’ll do it, I’ll lead the team and you do all the work”, which was met by stunned silence. Unfortunately it wasn’t a joke, as the subsequent delivery of the task demonstrated.
Both teams started by discussing their intended products. After an ill-conceived suggestion from Alex (Boozy Bangers), which was wisely rejected by Jamie, the boys settled on Stuart’s suggestion of a “stack them high and sell them cheap” strategy. The girls focused more on the ingredients and less on meat content. Procurement seemed chaotic for both teams with everyone running around like headless chickens, (a dangerous thing to do at Smithfield!), with no obvious guidance coming from either of the Project Managers.
Production for the boys was even worse, with Dan barking orders and offering no encouragement to his team, even when production was clearly faltering. The girls by contrast overcame their initial problems with the sausage making machine (initially producing some unfeasibly large sausages) and appeared to operate well as a team. Joanna directed events and provided encouragement to the production team of Paloma, Laura, Joy, Sandeesh and Melissa, whilst Stella and Liz tackled pricing.
The Selling phase was a much closer contest, with the boys seemingly very focused, perhaps largely due to Stuart, although his very direct style (“if you have any complaints, keep them to yourself”) was deemed offensive by Jamie (positive Emotional Intelligence and Values), although Stuart wasn’t to be deterred (positive Drive). The girls got off to a slow start, particularly as they weren’t using the griddle, but Joanna displayed Learning Agility when Stella pointed out some customer feedback and the sizzle soon helped their sales. They also managed to secure some bulk sales with local restaurants.
So the right person got fired, as Dan showed a total lack of Emotional Intelligence in both being unable to control his own emotions and not appreciating how he impacted on others. His lack of appropriate Values was also demonstrated as he failed to earn the respect of his team.
As for the remaining candidates, on the positive side we have seen indications that Jamie ( to Stuart “You’ve crossed the line”) and Raleigh (“Dan was thuggish, it wasn’t fair, it was shameful”) have shown they possess strong Values; Liz and Stella (recognising the unit pricing problem), and Chris (observing that they needed a targeted sales strategy) appear to possess the Intellect to succeed; Joanna (to her team at the end of the task “You were all brilliant”) and Jamie (appreciating how people might react to Stuart’s abrasive selling style) have shown signs of effective Emotional Intelligence; most possess the Drive but we’ve yet to see if they can inspire others.
On the negative side, Melissa is inclined to be confrontational and appears to lack Emotional Intelligence and Intellect, as she is inclined to speak before thinking. As for Stuart, it will be interesting to see how he pans out over the coming weeks.
Lastly it is too early to comment on the candidates’ Learning Agility and this is the quality that probably matters the most to the role of The Apprentice, so hopefully next week we’ll get an indication of what (if anything) the candidates have learned from their experiences in week 1… watch this space!