- The Washington Times - Monday, October 11, 2004

It was another heated contest on Donald Trump’s NBC reality TV show The Apprentice with ten dollars separating the winners from the losers. Once again, Mosaic took the prize leaving the women of Apex to battle it out in the Board Room. Led by Pamela, who Trump personally appointed as their Project Leader (after moving her from the all-male Mosaic team), the show was off to a suspenseful start. Would the women accept her? Would they follow her lead? Would they support her vision? Apparently not as it was Pamela who got the Trump-A-Dump. Her trip from the suite to the street was caused by her blind spot when it came to assessing the talents of her team.

Episode Update

This task allowed for the teams to use an abundance of business skills from creative to practical. It was imperative they use professional sales and marketing skills as well as personal experiences as consumers. QVC sells 100 million items a year valued at over $4 Billion. The two teams were charged with choosing a product from the QVC warehouse, pricing the product and marketing it on-air. The goal was simple - the team who makes the most money will win.

The women of Apex chose a cleaning product, “It Works,” which removes permanent marks on walls, countertops, and flooring. Realizing in rehearsal that Maria’s excessive eye-batting and arm movements would not do well on camera, Pamela quickly pushed Jennifer out to the front. However, when it came to the price, Stacy suggested $19.95 but because she preferred to “discuss” it rather than “declare” it, Pamela usurped this role from her. In the end, Pamela used her own logic that the price should be $1 per sponge or $30 for each unit. After the QVC price break, “It Works” sold for $27.23 and they sold 659 units for a total of $17,944.57.

The men of Mosaic were led by Chris who was more interested in winning than being the boss. Remembering how Raj had deferred to him the week before for his restaurant experience, he too deferred to the experiences of his team for both product and price selection. When Kelly emerged as the “defacto” project leader, Chris let him run with it. Determining that a barbeque grill won’t be desired by everybody, Kelly decided it should be priced high to have a psychological influence and attract buyers who are designer label conscious. Although Raj thought it should be under $70 for mass appeal, Chris deferred to Kelly and the final price was set at $71.25. Mosaic sold 252 units totaling $17,955.00, a mere $10.43 differential that brought them to the finish line. The winners got to play tennis with John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova.

Lessons Learned.

Lesson One

Know your people. Pamela was results focused but not team focused. Her dictating style converted the team mission to satisfying her instead of her satisfying them. She approached her team like they were simply bodies and not people. Winning required participation by everyone involved and Chris understood that by listening and positioning his team strategically by

using their strengths and resources.

Lesson Two

Know your customer. Kelly knew anyone in the market for a DeLongi Grill was probably a gourmet cook or homeowner who liked to entertain. Therefore, a high price would let them know it was a high quality product. Cleaning products, however, are not glamorous and must be priced low in order to sell. Pamela’s decision to make it $1 per sponge seemed logical to her but not appealing to the customer. “It Works” was priced too high, and even though they missed victory by just $10, they still missed victory. Her insistence that they had actually tied was a fantasy set straight by George in the Board Room. A lesser price might have helped them sell more units would have made the difference and kept Pamela in the game.

Lesson Three

Know your role as leader. Great leaders don’t do - they lead. Chris understood leadership is the determining factor in the final sum but you still need all of the parts. He was able to motivate, drive, and fully embrace by deferring, listening, and accepting the ideas and actions of his team members. Pamela was a dictator who alienated herself thus abandoning her team. Chris allowed the team to “own” their roles and “do” while he, as the leader, led.

Our preview into next week involves a fashion show and maybe more shuffling. 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 former Season I Apprentice, Bowie Hogg. Email your questions and comments to Jay Whitehead at [email protected]

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