- The Washington Times - Friday, September 24, 2004

Last week on Donald Trump’s NBC reality TV show The Apprentice, it was down to 16 players, and Stacie J.’s trail of ill will finally drowned her and she got this week’s. She got the Trump-A-Dump after it was determined that her crazy behavior in an earlier episode kept the team from relaxing or trusting her. And, with another step up the Fortune 500 ladder trust is extremely important for team achievement. The contest was quick, rapid-fire. In the first quarter of the show, the words “A Penny Saved Is A Penny Saved” flashed across the screen. Right then, we knew that the winning team would be the one that met budget. What we did not know is who would be fired in the boardroom. After all, Trump surprised everyone in last week’s episode by firing Bradford, a favorite, because he made a rash, irrational decision to waive his team-leader firing exemption. It reminded all self-respecting Trumpologists that in Trump’s world, no mysterious behavior goes unpunished.

Episode Three Update

The challenge was promoting $50 billion Procter & Gamble’s newest Crest toothpaste flavor. The men of Mosaic and women of Apex were charged with creating and implementing a promotion for Procter & Gamble’s new Crest toothpaste flavor. Given a strict budget of $50,000, the winning team would be assessed by generating what P&G; executives determined was the best buzz. After they lost legal approval for a million-dollar giveaway, Mosaic’s team leader, Kevin, hired a traveling circus to give away 3 chances at $5,000 cash prizes in NYC’s Washington Park. Apex, behind former P&G; employee Elizabeth, beat Mosaic’s buzz value with a celebrity tooth-brushing in NYC’s Union Square by hiring NY Mets catcher Mike Piazza to brush his teeth and sign autographs on custom-printed brand-promoting placards and the boxes of free toothpaste.

Apex’s wild-woman Stacie J. was in charge of moving 20,000 toothpaste samples to the promotion site. She blew it by arriving late with a too-small truck causing her team to hate her even more than before. While Stacie J. ultimately got the boot, Maria let the placard printing go $5,000 too high, which put Apex 10% over budget. P&G; liked Apex’s promo more than Mosaic’s, but Apex’s busted budget crushed their victory. The winners were treated to dinner aboard the Q.E. II as it sailed from New York Harbor. Losing Apex team leader Elizabeth picked Stacie J. and Maria to join her in the board room for the dumping duke-out. When Trump heard Elizabeth and Maria accuse Stacie J. of voodoo-like behavior, he re-called the entire Apex team back to the board room for a full-scale witch-hunt. When the whole squad squawked about Stacie J.s wacky ways, Trump sent her from the suite to the street.

Episode Three: Lessons Learned

Lesson One

Just because you worked for Procter & Gamble, and just because Trump likes Procter & Gamble, does not mean you can work for Trump. Apex team leader Elizabeth, a P&G; alumnus, devised the winning Mike Piazza tooth-brushing event which was the preferred promotion — but she failed at minding the entrepreneurial stuff, which is all that Trump cares about. Her disorganization and lack of attention to detail left her in the dark about being over budget. A strong leader has both a vision and a grasp of how to achieve it. One without the other is useless.

Lesson Two

In The Apprentice, the jury and judge is The Donald making the closing arguments almost as important as the doomed task. Your ability to elevate yourself, strike at your opponents and maintain dignity is key to survival. While Apex’s Elizabeth and Maria were equally incompetent in their loss, it was their joined lynching that sent Stacie J. packing. True Trumpographers know to save their best game for the big room.

Lesson Three

Weirdness and unpredictable behavior is unacceptable in Corporate America. Last week when The Donald whacked Bradford simply because he made an impulsive, unthinking and risky decision to throw away his firing exemption, we saw that Trump values dependable, rational managers. In episode three, Stacie J.’s cosmic conjuring spooked The Donald. In Trump’s world, odd-balls need not apply.

In the next episode of The Apprentice, look for Trump to follow up on his disgust for Elizabeth’s leadership and Maria’s financial incompetence. For sure, Trump’s hench-people grumpy George and Ice Queen Carolyn will never let the boss forget how horrid that pair’s performance was as the long job interview goes on. 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 Apprentice, Amy Henry. Email your questions and comments to [email protected]

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