The Apprentice, Week 8: Local Heroes?
Last nights’ episode of ‘The Apprentice’ had the Irish Twitterati (those who were still tuned in, that is) bemoaning the antics of the candidates as they went about a task set by Diageo Ireland. Comparisons between the calibre of the candidates and the general state of the nation abounded as the remaining eight hopefuls took on an event management challenge with a twist.
I mentioned last week that Noel and Sandra were delivering strong results and were my favourites to win; as if by magic, they stepped up to PM the tasks for Spirit and Zest, respectively, to showcase their skills.
Deep in the heart of the Guinness Brewery campus in Dublin 8 (I live near there and would love to see behind those doors; the rare glimpse of the beautiful stone buildings last night definitely whet my appetite) the teams were briefed; they had to create a Guinness event to engage the local community, recreate the magic unique to the local pub and inspire the community to raise a glass together. The event had to have the potential to be rolled out country wide and the most unique event was the winner. Two pubs and been pre-selected and team Spirit headed off in a very plush coach (with it’s own meeting area) to Cork, whilst team Zest stayed in Dublin.
As Bill said, there was no middleman in this task; the creation of an event meant working directly with consumers to make sure they were engaged and excited by the brand. Both teams had strong ideas (in my opinion) with Team Zest creating the inaugural Guinness Potato Peeling Championships, whilst Spirit chose a ‘Crown Your Local Legend’ theme.
Until now, I’ve been fairly candid on my feelings around the candidates and their business skills (candid in pointing our their shortcomings, that is). So in the spirit of a more positive post I wanted to highlight the key business skills of the remaining candidates so we can see why Bill has kept them in:
Noel: Delegates and manages resources and specific skills of his team well. Quiet but clear on his objectives and delivers results.
Sandra: Confident in her abilities to deliver results and has the ability to refocus and change direction when required. A ‘role with the punches’ attitude which has been crafted by her restaurant experience I’m sure.
Chris: Great with clients; excellent in engaging customers. Passionate.
Maurice: Confident in his abilities and a strong influencer and negotiator.
Conor: Strong on ideas, gives creativity and energy. Needs to work with a manager who will channel these strengths.
Brian: Resourceful salesman; responds well to clear targets.
Eugene: Ideas man through and through. Creative showman with great communication skills.
Joanne: Excellent project manager who focuses on Management by Objectives.
Now, whilst there are many great skills amongst this bunch, the entrepreneurial flair that Bill requires doesn’t necessarily feature in them all and I think that now we’re closer to the conclusion, some difficult decisions will need to be made. Personally, it seems that both Conor and Chris are still in the running purely for ratings; whilst Conor is indeed a gifted young man, I don’t think the format of the The Apprentice is the best learning environment for him. One on one mentoring may be better suited to helping him shine. I’m surprised Chris has survived so many boardroom visits, particularly considering his distinct lack of delivering results in the tasks to date. He may consider that he ‘does everything well’ but it’s puzzling why he’s still in the running, whilst strong business candidates such as Claire didn’t make it past week four. What are your thoughts?
Ultimately, Team Spirit won, with their ‘Crown Your Local Legend’ themed event. Whilst I can see how this ties in nicely with the Guinness brand and previous Guinness customer engagement, I did take a fancy to Team Zest’s potato peeling competition; Guinness fed back that it created associations with a ’twee’ Ireland (which is understandable) but my feeling is that this event could have been taken outside of Ireland and used at a global level. I think it tied in well with what they’ve created with Arthur’s Day; something uniquely Irish which has the potential to spread Internationally.
Brian was fired this week, after Sandra took both he and Chris into the boardroom. Bill commented that he felt he was a ‘coaster’, which may be a little harsh. I think Brian’s skills as a salesman mean that he responds well to clear targets and results, which was really the antithesis of this task, meaning he found it difficult to showcase himself effectively this week.
So we have seven candidates remaining – tune in next week to hear my views on the candidates and find out who becomes the next casualty in Bill Cullen’s search for his next business partner.