- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2005

Trump-ologists say that in Donald’s world, nothing fails like losing; but in The Donald’s big Board Room, there is no excuse as bad as “I was snoozing.” That brings us to the one overriding theme to this past week’s contest: victory goes to the team leader who can function and thrive without sleep. Despite the two surviving members of NetWorth, Chris and Alex, choosing Bren to join them from the 4 members of Magna, they still could not pick up a win. With a streak of 7 consecutive losses, tobacco-chewing, anger-management-victim Chris got this week’s Trump-A-Dump albeit with an emotional send-off by The Donald himself.

The teams were charged with designing a brochure for the new Pontiac sportscar called Solstice. Described by the car execs as a sexy, gorgous two-seater, the teams would be judged by this Pontiac panel of three based on the best brochure photos and text that caught their message.

At the outset, the 3 men of NetWorth joked about the inherent advantages of being male in a task related to cars. But their hubris destroyed them. Alex failed to get the photographs the team had decided on, then napped rather than go back and get the right shots. Bren failed to write compelling brochure copy and instead drafted a technical user’s manual. Chris rumbled, bumbled and stumbled his way through the brochure’s presentation to the unimpressed GM execs. But while neither Alex nor Bren’s performance was stellar, it was Chris who could not avoid the axe. Hearing “You’re fired!” caused Chris to cry which moved Trump to call him back to shake his hand and remind him he was a good kid who would go far as long as he kept his temper under control and permanently quit the tobacco habit. Chris’ departure was the first time Trump offered such a send-off.

Magna project manager Kendra used her marketing background and hit the ground running with her team. Asking passersby their one-word emotions about the parked Solstice, Kendra used the responses as her brochure copy. Even while her teammates slept, she single-handedly brought them to victory. With Tana remembering her fire-exempt status and Craig feeling Kendra still had no direction, they returned to the suite. Never losing her purpose to win, Kendra stayed on course and work through the night creating a brilliant round-shaped brochure with the car grill on the front and the Solstice logo rear on the back.

In the middle, Kendra designed a CD and business card holders and used all of the descriptive words said to her by the potential buyers as her only text. Kendra became the brochure — she was there to win and the book was there to sell. So impressed, the Pontiac execs announced they would use the brochure as the official Solstice brochure announcing Magna as the “slam dunk winners.” They were treated to a court session with National Basketball Association star Isiah Thomas and members of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Lesson One:

Never forget why you are there. Kendra was always mindful and continually verbalized to her team that she wanted “to win.” Simple but purposeful. She was motivated by this one simple concept and that is what kept her up all night with fire and inspiration. Kendra’s eye on the prize got her the prize and although she felt betrayed by the departure of her teammates, her resolve “to win” was always bigger than anything else.

Lesson Two:

Write it down. All three team members agreed that a photo of the stunning interior logo would make for a great cover but Alex, in charge of photography, failed to get this photograph. He claimed later there wasn’t enough time so we have to wonder why the most important image wasn’t shot first. With as many moving parts as this project had, don’t leave anything to memory, and write it down.

Lesson Three:

Give the customer what they want. The execs asked for something to reflect sexy and gorgous. A cover photo with the Pontiac symbol is neither. A blurry photograph where the car design cannot be identified is neither. A text that reads like directions for a software system is neither. Always give the customer what they asked for in order to insure victory.

Next week, we get down to the final five and all seemed to have the passion and commitment required to make it through. Stay tuned.

Jay Whitehead is America’s most-read, most-watched and most-listened-to expert on workstyles and careers. Email your questions and comments to [email protected]

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