- The Washington Times - Friday, October 1, 2004

Last week on Donald Trump’s NBC reality TV show The Apprentice, it was down to 15 players, and we saw the men of Mosaic take the victory, again. Mosaic, led by the quirky-but-confident Raj, crushed Apex, managed by the hapless and hopeless Jennifer C. And, no surprise, Jen C got the Trump-A-Dump. Her trip from the suite to the street was for her lack of focus, organization and ultimately for dragging her grudges into the boardroom.

Episode Four Update

This contest was the mind-bending work of creating two restaurants in Manhattan and opening them up to the public for a day. The teams determined the food theme, ambience, even furniture selection. The winners would be the team who earned the highest Zagat rating, a quality score, based on customer surveys. In Zagat’s world, only three things count: food, dcor and service, each of which gets a simple number score.

The women of Apex chose an Asian “fusion” menu, while the men of Mosaic picked contemporary American fare. Apex’s upscale and pretentious restaurant, in a decidedly working-class part of town, seemed oddly out-of-place. Sandy, in charge of dcor for the team, guessed wrong by going with a formal look that turned off the diners. In addition, the women greeted and served customers wearing fancy black cocktail apparel making the casually-dressed guests uncomfortable. To make matters worse for the ill-fated Apex, by failing to hire a cleaning crew the night before as the Mosaic team did, they were up til 4am doing it themselves. This caused the sleepless and tired team to be less than charming and came across with a hovering and grumpy demeanor toward the diners and one another.

The men of Mosaic won the day by treating their diners to enjoyable, uncomplicated meals delivered with humor and energy. When a group of gay men diners started sniping at the cuisine, Mosaic’s sharp-eyed service guru, Chris, had team’s best-looking member, John, finish serving them. The tactic won the hearts and minds of the gabby group, which gave the Mosaic restaurateurs a decisive win based on a good service score. The reward was priceless. Mosaic won a conversation on leadership with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and team leader Raj is exempt from firing next week.

Episode Four: Lessons Learned.

Lesson One

Leadership is all about respect for yourself, your team and your achievement. Earn it. Inspire it. Enforce it. Jennifer C. thought she was exempt from this rule and instead of mounting a business campaign that would win she put her energy into forming alliances. Winning in business can be fun — but it’s not a game and success is everything.

Lesson Two

Use your strengths and pay attention to your customers. Raj successfully put John, a talented artist, in charge of dcor, and Chris, a former experienced waiter in charge of service offering tips to the others. Sending attractive John to the disgruntled table was thinking fast and smart to change the tone of the dissatisfied diners. This responsive customer service surely was a factor in the final score that gave Mosaic a 61-to-57 point Zagat rating victory.

Lesson Three

It’s not personal, it’s business. Rather than bringing her chief of dismal dcor Sandy into the board room, Jennifer C. brought in personal rivals Stacy and Elizabeth. Trump knew her picks were irrelevant to the failure of this task and when confronted Jen C. stammered. Ice Queen Carolyn and returning season one winner Bill Rancic found Jen C.’s firing the easiest thus far because Jennifer let her personal agenda cloud her judgment.

Our preview into next week suggests a QVC contest for the teams and a switch of Pamela from the all-male team Mosaic back to the ladies Apex. This might be good for the losing team but will it be good for Pamela? My predictions: in the next episode, look for Trump to give henchperson Carolyn more say in weeding out another weak-link contestant. I also expect the weepy Elizabeth to be the “next ex-.” Stay tuned.

Jay Whitehead is America’s most-read, most-watched and most-listened-to expert on workstyles and careers. You can listen to Jay Whitehead on web-radio every Tuesday 5pm to 6pm EST when he hosts Won on Won with Whitehead on www.businessamericaradio.com. This week the guest will be Gene Zaino, CEO of MyBizOffice, Inc. (www.mybizoffice.com) and former Season I Apprentice, Jason Curis. Email your questions and comments to Jay Whitehead at [email protected]l.com.

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