Meanwhile on the Apprentice. There really IS no I in team. Follow the leader

Meanwhile on the Apprentice. There really IS no I in team. Follow the leader

I am an avid watcher of the series for all its shortcomings. I will highlight the great stuff the contestants do when skilful as well as the epic skill fails, which they all demonstrate and which hold them back. I will call out my winner after week 3, as well as who I think should have been fired if I disagree with Lord S. What do you think?

This week they went off to Malta to an onerous voiceover about “Britain going through difficult times”. They had to find random Maltese things, but thankfully not a Falcon, and thankfully nobody grabbed a bag of Maltesers at the airport and said “that’ll do!”

The women’s team was led by Jasmine, a corporate L&D Manager, and includes an entrepreneur who runs a children’s acting school and one who has developed her own nut milk brand. The men were led by a bright young black guy and public speaker called Kadoje. They also had in their ranks an aspiring Bollywood actor who smoulders so much I expect an escort of swooning women in spangled saris to follow him everywhere. There is also a tax adviser who contends that though he may “look like your average cuddly bear” he assures us he is out for everybody else’s blood. The panto posturing is unfortunate. More to say on this kind of behaviour and why it doesn’t work later in the series.

Skill fail is a term used in sport to describe the failure of an attempted demonstration of skills to come off. In the workplace we can see it as “an obvious and apparent lack of a situational skill or behaviour, and more importantly a lack of awareness that it is required or how it can be used effectively”.

All sorts of skill fails were in evidence here. Cultural awareness. The practical importance of the siesta in the Mediterranean for example was missed by Mr cuddly bear who had the Maltese written off as a lazy shower. Obviously listening and decision making skills were not in abundance. Nor were planning or logistics, much in evidence. And had they listened to the boss and potential business partner they would have known that the task was to test those skills. The numeracy issue was exposed by Jasmine under pressure and not using proper tools undershooting the quantity of salt required. But as soon as both teams set about the task it was clear: the common skill fail was team work.

Using the FSNP model of team dynamics (Forming, Storming Norming, Performing), there is a lot that can stop a team forming. Also there was game playing by Jackie in putting Jasmine forward and then deliberately undermining her. For me that set everyone in the team up to fail and also encouraged sub team indiscipline. It’s difficult to assert yourself when someone is clearly undermining you. The best strategy is when someone is either in the position of leader is to follow them and support them until it conflicts in a fundamental way with the tasks or your ethics. The men were lucky the thought that an Octopus could have been a piece of diving equipment rather than a slimy tangle of seafood never crossed their mind.

Sarah who was disruptive and difficult was fired and in my view it was the wrong decision. Jackie showed herself to be devious and contributed nothing. Jasmine did very well to deal with her toxic approach and was skilful in her behaviours. What’s your take?