How often to business leaders turn to their colleagues moments before a career-defying meeting, raise their hand and whisper: “Let’s have a quick game of stones, paper, scissors to decide who does the pitch”?

Well, according to one of Lord Sugar’s hopeful’s, it’s quite common practice, though it’s not something I’ve tried myself. If nothing else, tonight’s episode landed some hilarity points as Tom was cornered by Karren Brady and forced to say the words “stones, paper, and scissors” during a serious conversation.

However, away from Tom’s ‘first break’ approach to leadership, there was something else that caught my eye tonight.

Here at Muika Leadership, we not only work in the leadership development arena, but we also work with organisations in terms of diversity and inclusion. So when Susan asked, "are the French fond of their children?", and "do they [the French] drive?" , I was literally fuming.

Melody’s negative tone about the north furthered their ethnocentricism – in other words, what I saw demonstrated were several individuals, who were centred around their own experiences, values and beliefs, with little regard to difference.  I also heard a patronising pitch from Natasha, which made me twinge with disbelief.

Helen stood out, because she pitched appropriately, confidently, and communicated the product well – resulting in an outstanding sale. Confidence is a huge part of leadership, and on this occasion it was demonstrated well.

However, commercially, as well as socially, the disastrous comments made by many of these ‘apprentices’ exposed their lack of cultural competence.

Are they leaders or entrepreneurs who have an understanding of diversity, equality and inclusion? I would challenge anyone who says that cultural competence isn’t important in the business world – there is a business case, an ethical case and a legislative case.

Karen Murphy
Muika Leadership
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