The UK’s second season of their own The Apprentice has reached the halfway point.
Now seems like as good a time as any to start a review of how it’s going.
As a bit of background, the UK version of The Apprentice has Sir Alan Sugar in the Trump role of the hirer and firer. Sir Alan is the CEO of Amstrad and a prior owner of the Tottenham Hotspur football club.
The BBC runs The Apprentice franchise here, and almost all the action takes place in and around London.
The last episode’s task was for the two teams to outsell each other in the same major UK clothing store chain (Top Shop). The teams were asked to select a limited range of mid to late teen clothing and then sell, sell, sell.
Obviously the team that sold the most wins the task.
The team run by a rather complacent-seeming Michelle lost.
And the first question to ask is, was the right person given the sack in this episode?
Sir Alan Sugar really put the losing project manger on the spot. What had she done wrong?
Let me number the ways:
1) She gave each team member job specs, then didn’t check what they were coming up with.
2) She tried on clothes, which was not even part of her selling job.
3) She didn’t step back and realise she didn’t have the time luxury of helping a small number of people try clothes on in the name of VIP treatment.
4) She didn’t check the ideas of the poor sap she’d given marketing to.
5) She kept away from the main sales area — she didn’t have a clue they were underselling their opposing team.
And yet she wasn’t fired.
On the other hand, the person who was sacked had no clue how to market. For example:
1) He tried to get anyone passing to take a free bottle of water, even though they were unlikely to come back in their time frame — that day!
2) He forgot their target market was teens and was trying to give away stuff to anyone.
3) He organised a masseur but didn’t put her in a good place and didn’t use her to full effect.
4) He printed off flyers that promised something free if people bought several items of clothing — he should have been handing those out to people as they came into the shop!
In the end Sir Alan, was right. You can get by with a rubbish manager as long as your marketing and sales hang together and work well.