If you have watched enough reality TV to qualify for the “Get Your Own Life” Award, then you know the driving force that keeps viewers glued – DRAMA! Somehow, we can never live without being entertained about how others interact with total strangers. Maybe one day we will get our chance to call someone a bitch and get away with it.
E3 of The Apprentice picked up right after the E2 boardroom confrontation between Liza, Stephanie and Poppy. After an attempt to celebrate their team’s victory with a toast, Poppy is surprised to receive an unwelcomed reaction from Liza as she refused to raise her glass. Instead, Liza was still furious about the events and accusations that she was the weakest link on the team. This resentment is verbally expressed to Poppy by the word, (yes, you guessed it) BITCH. Her teammates tried to calm her down and tell her she’s out of line. Liza held her ground adding to the growing division between her and the team. If there was a time to shuffle up the teams, Liza was hoping this was it.
On the men’s side, the battle between James and David elevated to epic proportions. David openly told the audience he is out to make James’ job of Project Manager a living hell. And boy, did he live up to his words, literally. E3’s challenge was to create a hotel for dogs, enhancing the experience of dogs and their owners. In the middle of a team meeting with the owner of the doggie daycare, David expressed his opinion on James’ leadership ability with profanity. It was a childish and unprofessional attempt to undermine James. The men were shocked to hear such words especially in front of the client. James immediately called an adult version of a “time-out” and asked David to leave the room for a diaper change. Like a parent reprimanding a little child, James laid down the law to David.
Drama continued to build on the women’s team. Mahsa gave a resounding case on why she should be the receptionist for the next challenge that was met with the approval of her teammates. Tyana vetoed her suggestion stating that she is qualified since she won the title of Ms. Cougar California. I thought Tyana’s reasoning was completely off and on top of that, she decided to stick Mahsa in the dog pen to care for the large dogs. This will prove to be a bad decision on her part due to Mahsa’s fear of dogs. This was another example of how Project Managers failed to gather enough information before making a decision. Personally, I thought the only reason why Tyana wanted to be the receptionist was to show her younger counterparts that this cougar has some bite, very selfish on her part.
With all the barking happening on the men’s team, we all knew eventually James and David would have another bitch slapping moment. This time David was trying his best to make nails out of binder clips because his team forgot to buy nails or lost them. James immediately pulled David on the side and advised him to work on setting up the webcam, explaining how making nails from binder clips are a waste of time. (Seriously, have you ever made nails with binder clips?) David fought back with more words and finally, is fired for his insubordination. I agreed with how James handled this situation with David. He didn’t need the distraction and the childish behaviors. Now James had to worry about finishing up the tasks before the presentation begins.
As the deadline approached, the women are nervous about the printing of their banners and flyers. Liza was tasked with the responsibility of design and printing. She is under the gun and appeared to be handling the situation calmly and without any indication that she is emotional or distraught. However, Stephanie felt that Liza was taking too long and can’t handle the pressure. Additionally, she thought that Liza was overly emotional and this led to the chaos. Having the advantage of DVR, I was able to rewind and closely watch Liza’s performance. I couldn’t justify Stephanie’s claims. I felt this was just another attack on Liza and was a direct result of her emotional outburst after the heated boardroom confrontation from E2.
Somehow things always come together in the end and both teams find a way to finish their tasks. After a review of each facility by the “The Dog Whisper,” Cesar Millan, the teams find themselves back in the boardroom with Trump. He spared no time and began grilling the teams on their performance. Tyana was put in the hot seat for her decision to assign Mahsa to care for the dogs. Trump alluded that this was probably not the right choice to the delight of Mahsa. Tyana took a sarcastic jab at Mahsa after Trump asked for her opinion. Stephanie affirmed that Mahsa is a strong candidate and tossed Liza into the frying pan for the second straight episode when asked who she thought was the weakest link. Liza quickly affirmed that her emotional breakdown occurred after the boardroom confrontation in E2 not during the previous task. She was able to defend herself bravely and I believed earned her some respect with Trump.
As for the men, it became very obvious that the issues were between James and David. Trump asked Gene to assess the challenge and Gene affirmed James’ decision to remove David was appropriate in order to minimize disruptions. Clint spoke out against James for not addressing the owner during the planning process. It was a tactical blunder and showed a lack of respect to authority. James is seen nervously shaking his head acknowledging the feedback.
Trump announced the women as the winner of the challenge. James is asked to bring back two people to the firing room. He picked David and Wade. This was a shock to Wade. James stated that Wade’s contributions are not seen and that Wade gets away by hiding in the shadows which I also agreed with. From the previous episodes, we don’t see much of Wade. Regardless of who James brought to the firing room, we all know the two on the hook are James and David.
It came down to respect between the last three candidates. Wade and David did not respect James. David’s insubordination was obvious to Trump and was seen as more of a result of his relationship with James. It was James’ inability to garnish respect and get his team to work together that led Trump to mutter the words, “You’re FIRED.”
Here are the “Laosy Guy’s” quick hits of this episode:
- One of the key aspects of leading is making sure you handle conflict effectively. What I saw in this episode was the friction between members – David vs. James and Stephanie vs. Liza. Neither team displayed the ability to clear the issues and the negative relationship constraints. You should never head into a task with baggage especially if you are aware of it. I give credit to James for trying to clear with his team. In the beginning, he apologized to his team for his past performance and asked them to work with him on the next challenge. He even extended the olive branch to David. Unfortunately, he did not get 100% buy-in from his team and this would lead to his firing. Though the effort was obviously there, the approach needed to be developed. For the women, the conflict was clear between Stephanie and Liza. No one will doubt that Liza is emotional and full of passion. Her outburst against Poppy was a strong assertion of her anger. She had the right to raise her frustrations. She probably would be served more effectively deploying a different method to unleash her wrath. This outburst caused an immediate reaction from her teammates. They viewed her as a lone ranger and treated her like one. When asked about who is the weakest link, Stephanie pointed out Liza for her disruptive emotional outburst. Liza defended herself that she was angry after the E2 boardroom and was not at all disruptive during the task. Based upon further review of the footage, I didn’t see Liza at all acting out the way Stephanie claimed. This proved to me that Stephanie was basing her observations from a previous experience that was not relevant to the task. Again, had Liza and Stephanie cleared the issues between them, the outcome would most likely be different and maybe, the two can co-exist to work for the betterment of the team.
- Insubordination is poison and needs to be directly managed. It was sad to see James get fired. It was between him and David. I just couldn’t rally myself and take David’s side especially when I saw James doing his best to manage his wise-guy mentality. Despite the lack of respect his team might have had for James, both Gene and Wade sided with James for making the decision to remove David to minimize the distractions. I was happy to hear Ivanka and Trump assessing David as insubordinate. If you are leading a team, the last thing you need is a teammate that deliberately makes your job difficult and sabotage the success of the team for their own selfish means. Once you recognize this dynamic, you have to make a wise decision on how to manage them.
- Utilizing and optimizing your resources have become an on-going challenge this season. Project Managers are doing a terrible job assigning tasks and more importantly, matching individual skill sets to tasks. Tyana wanted to be the star of the show and assigned herself the role of receptionist. She had the option of using Mahsa who had 15 years of experience in the role and had the support of her team. Instead, Mahsa was sent to the dog pen to care for the dogs. When Cesar Millan visited the women’s team, he was surprised that Mahsa would pet the dog while the dog was eating. Apparently, this was a huge “No-No.” Cesar gave them lesson on why you don’t pet dogs while they are eating. This wasn’t Mahsa’s fault. She was trying to be friendly and show the dog some love. She just had no prior knowledge on how to care for one. Had Tyana done a better job understanding the role and her teammates, I am sure she would not have made this choice. She was lucky her team won otherwise, she would be walking the dog and not competing on the next challenge. On the men’s team, James also wanted the spotlight. He knew he had limited sales and presentation skills but decided that he would be the one to give Cesar the tour of his hotel for dogs. It was a very awkward moment. The men sense the awkwardness and decided to add their two cents to Cesar causing more confusion. James should have assigned another candidate that has the presentation skills like Steuart or Anand. So far, the level of talent isn’t at all at par to previous seasons.
Here is the “Laosy Guy’s” guide to not getting FIRED:
1) “You betta check yo self, Fore you wreck yo self” – This is a line from Ice Cube’s song, “Check Yo Self.” I recommend you listening to it before you next major task. You might learn something. For one, if you know you are going to be managing a major task and you know you have some past issues with some of the members of the team, then, it might be a good idea for you to sort out how you feel before taking charge. “Check Yo Self” means understanding your leadership dynamics and your relationships with your team. Make sure you clear any past issues that present a possible conflict and barrier to success. If you know you have a strained relationship with one of the members that can cause friction and lead to an unsuccessful completion of the task, you “betta man up.” Take a moment to discuss the issues directly with that person. For example, if I knew one of my teammates is historically slow on completing deliverables and has a bad reputation for cooperating with the team leader, I am going to make sure I address these issues upfront and set the expectations. I will set up operating guidelines on how I want the deliverables completed and how the process will go. By doing so, I will be able to manage the process more effectively in case issues do appear.
2) “Kelly can’t bat cleanup due to her inability to produce in the clutch.” – Sports fans will automatically understand the importance of placing your best power hitter and clutch hitter in the cleanup spot. Success comes down to knowing your team. Establish a profile of your team. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each teammate. Create a depth chart and be prepared to adjust accordingly to the circumstances. What if you don’t have the time to really know your teammates? Apply the concept and ask enough questions for you to get a better understanding of your teammates. They key is to ask appropriate and intelligent questions. Once you have learned this skill, you will know who will be the best person to make a presentation and who will be the best in creative design. If you have watched this season of The Apprentice, you will see how poorly each Project Manager has performed when delegating tasks. I find this as the biggest weakness so far from all Project Managers this season.
3) Personality Counts! – Leaders have to learn how to work with unique and differing personalities. It is quite possibly the most challenging aspect of leading. Take a look at David and James. They have personalities that are polar opposites of each other. David is an energizer who appreciates humor and interacting with people. He is definitely a salesperson. James is an analyzer who appreciates data and interacting with possible outcomes of a task. He is definitely an attorney. In a general sense, an energizer can’t stand an analyzer and complains about the unnecessarily process of decision making. To an energizer, it’s about the emotions and human engagement. To the analyzer, it is about the process of how to sort out data and using the data to best plan a task. The analyzer will complain that the energizer has not worked out the details and does not have a solid plan. These are general characteristic traits and behaviors. When you watch the David and James, you see these dynamics play out. You realize they can’t stand each other. Each person is right on their thought process but can’t seem to agree on the method of execution. When you are leading, you need to be aware of your personality type. Once you are aware of your primary personality type, you should then work on recognizing the general personality traits of others. This will help you manage your engagement with them better. If you are an energizer type leader, you will know how to ask for feedback from analyzers. You will slow down your charismatic and high-energy personality in order to relate effectively to an analyzer. If you are working with a regulator like Trump, you will learn to keep everything direct and avoid diarrhea of the mouth. Keep an eye on this if you haven’t done so. It is fun to see Trump cut people off to get to the chase. In case you were wondering, Trump is a pure regulator type of leader. He means business.