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The Apprentice

Watched the second episode of Season 4 of The Apprentice.

This episode was almost like a clip episode in places, so strong were the resemblances to situations that had appeared before. Most astonishing is that few lessons seem to have been learned from past episodes.

At first glance the ending appeared a bit like a replay of last week. There was Chris, the big NFL linesman, taking only one troublemaker into the boardroom with him - this time the ratbaggy Markus - as Kristi had done. But things turned out very differently. Last week, Melissa saved Kristi by doing all the talking and hanging herself. This week, despite a reputation as a loudmouth, Markus kept his firmly shut.

But there were other differences. Last week, the women lost by a lousy eleven bucks, so it was conceivable that one person could have made the difference. This time, the margin between victory and defeat was too wide to be the work of any one person, although only one gets fired. Mark's decision to bring only Markus to the boardroom was the last of a long series of poor judgment calls. I always say that you should bring two people with you. With luck, they'll do all the talking. Now, Chris was forced to answer all the hard, embarassing questions and the attempt to say Markus was disloyal fell flat because it looked like he was the only team member who was right. Chris was fired and left convinced that he lost because Markus was not a "team player".

What motivated me to write this up is that I disagree totally with this concept of management, that a good leader is a cheerleader who needs to get everyone dancing in step and that dissent should not be tolerated. On the contrary, what this results in is a degenerate form of decision making in which a group actually performs more poorly than the individuals who comprise it. It's called groupthink and is characterised by:

  • An illusion of invulnerability
  • Belief in the group's morality
  • Shared stereotypes of others
  • Pressure on members to conform
  • Lack of critical thinking

All of which were on display, right from the very first moments.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
12th Oct, 2005 11:09 (UTC)
I've just decided to withdraw from a project at work for precisely the reason you say. The person in charge doesn't want to hear bad news, but in my opinion it's only by facing the bad news head on that we can make progress. Anyway, my involvement was voluntary (I was just giving up my time to help them) so I've said I'll withdraw and let them get on with it. This is probably the single most common reason for projects to go wrong in my work place - cheerleading as you call it.
12th Oct, 2005 21:36 (UTC)
The person in charge doesn't want to hear bad news, but in my opinion it's only by facing the bad news head on that we can make progress.

Oh yes. I once worked for a company where the people on certain projects didn't want to tell the boss bad news, though I think he would have wanted to hear it. The company went bankrupt.
14th Oct, 2005 02:51 (UTC)
I love it when the men think they can beat the women just because it involves a car!

I agree with your clip show comment except i was thinking we've seen this series somewhere before ... hmm is it last years served up in new wrapping?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )