- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Even though every fan of The Apprentice will agree that The Donald made the right business decision - pulling the plug on Omarosa and her never-ending excuses - it is an entertainment loss because how we loved her spoiled brat antics and disruptive ways.

Episode Nine Update

This episode pitted team leader Kwame’s four-person Protg team (Omarosa, Heidi, Troy) against team captain Nick’s Versacorp (Aimee, Bill, Katrina). The challenge was simple, and frighteningly subjective. The winning team was the one that could pick from among four modern artists and sell the most of the artist’s works in one gallery opening night. After interviewing all four artists, Protg voted to pick an edgy painter/photographer/sculpter named Meghan whose erotic and metaphysical themes. Although this artist wasn’t liked by the team, Protg chose her because she had a following but more importantly, Meghan’s average price per piece of $4,000 (versus $1,500 for the others) would help them win quicker. Versacorp, by contrast, picked the artist they liked, an easy-on-the-eye naturist named Andrei. With this decision, the winning Versacorp team proved once again that picking art is an emotional, not an economic decision.

This episode featured the most lop-sided win of any of the previous contests. Versacorp clobbered Protg with sales of $13,600 and 8 pieces versus $869 and 1 piece for Protg. On the way to their drubbing, Protg’s street-fighter Heidi and spoiled-brat Omarosa scrapped like hungry leopards. Heidi’s language was so bad that I counted 8 profanity censor beeps during the catfight sequence. To make things worse, Protg’s hatred of their artist’s work had Troy and Heidi stumbling, bumbling and fumbling through their all-important sales pitches at the gallery opening. Heidi’s disgust cast her as a one-person sales prevention team when she mistakenly sold a decorated fireplace screen as a soiled toilet tank. As captain of the winning team, Nick’s prize was ten minutes alone with the master, Donald Trump. Trump’s advice for Nick was to keep his high energy level because that is why Trump values most in young leaders.

The Board Room, as you now know, is where Trump picks who gets to hear those famous word, “You’re fired.” Kwame picked both Heidi and Omarosa for review. After some world class jousting, Trump blasted Omarosa for having too large a chip on her shoulder, and for making too many excuses for not working hard.

Episode Nine: Lessons Learned

Lesson One.

One of Trump’s favorite love-and-business stories is of investor Kirk Kerkorian’s legendary profit on the stock of Chrysler, which he bought against his financial advisors’ recommendation, simply because he loved the company’s new cars. Kwame’s Protg team lost, Trump observed, because they were selling a product that they hated. Versacorp, by contrast, loved Andrei’s nature-scapes, and sold 13 of them. Advice: If you want success, sell what you love. The fastest way to failure is to sell a product you despise.

Lesson Two

Emotion, hysteria, outbursts or individual craziness (aka meshugas), is inappropriate behavior in team-building. Suddenly, reaching the goals become secondary to solving the behavior. Heidi and Omarosa became destructively distracting destabilized the team which made critical judgment and execution errors. By contrast, Versacorp was united, focused, and ultimately victorious. Advice: Achievements are reached when all players approach the task with focus and purpose. Meshugas inteferes with the mission and has no place in successful business practices.

Lesson Three

In the apartment-remodeling episode, Omarosa was struck by a small piece of falling plaster. She claimed she had a concussion during work hours yet she miraculously recovered whenever the victory celebrations were underway. When confronted, her habit was to deny first and blame others later. The Donald sent her from the Suite to the Street. Advice: In Trump’s world, there is no such thing as excuses. Work both hard and smart and reach your goals. Most importantly, take responsibility for your actions because excuses have no place in the business world.

We got a chock full of strong advice for us this week because this episode was more about our human elements that we bring to work rather than what we do at work. Leave the meshugas behind, only sell what you love, and don’t make excuses. Stay tuned.

Jay Whitehead is a leading workforce analyst and advisor for employees and employers. He can be reached at [email protected] Come see Jay Whitehead and the nations leading business executives speak, debate and exhibit at the HRO World Conference & Expo at the New York Hilton on April 14 -16, 2004. Learn more at www.hroworld.com.

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