The Apprentice 2010: Task 3 Performance Review

Each week as contestants compete for a $250,000 job contract, get the leadership lessons you can use to succeed

The ladies of Fortitude get ready to send Octane back to the dog house. (Courtesy NBC Universal)

The 2010 edition of The Apprentice, NBC’s business reality show starring and executive produced by real estate mogul Donald Trump, features entrepreneurs and professionals competing for a $250,000 job contract with the Trump organization. By now, the format is familiar: Each week the contestants, divided into two teams, must complete a business task. The winning team is rewarded; the losing team must report to the infamous boardroom, where one member will be fired by Trump. This edition of The Apprentice features three African American job candidates:

Kelly Beaty, 30, holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Spelman College and a master’s in public communication from American University. A former intern at Black Enterprise, she established a career as a rising star in the high-profile public relations industry before losing her job.

Get exclusive behind-the-scenes insights on Task 3 of The Apprentice via our Live Chat with Beatty

Gene Folkes, 46, earned a bachelor of science degree in business from Morris Brown College and served in the U.S. Air Force before launching a career as a financial advisor. The Jamaican-born Folkes has been living off of his savings and trying to launch an assisted living facility since being laid off.

Liza Mucheru-Wisner, 30, founder of an educational technology company who was born in Kenya and, as part of the Kenyan National Golf Team, was recruited to play golf at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

With each task of The Apprentice 2010, I will post performance reviews of the candidates, their teams and their project managers. In addition, I will assess the performances of Kelly, Gene and Liza for as long as they remain in The Apprentice talent pool. You can also follow and discuss my commentary on Twitter and Facebook.

Read and comment on other performance reviews of The Apprentice 2010 Tasks.

Leadership Lesson: If you consistently show respect via your actions, you don’t have to constantly tell people how much you respect them. And the more compelled you feel to keep telling them, the less they’ll believe you. If you have to tell people that you are in charge, you’re not–or you won’t be for long.  In other words, the best leaders walk the walk.

TASK 3: Run a hotel & spa for dogs, while creating and offering a “value-add” for clients. Teams are judged on execution, creativity and sustainability of value add, and overall customer experience.

Attorney James Weir steps up as project manager for the all-male Octane team, while real estate agent Tyana Alvarado takes on the leadership role for the ladies of Fortitude on this task.

When realtor Wade Hanson, citing his experience as a long-time dog owner, suggests installing web cams at the pet hotel to allow pet owners to see how their dogs are being cared for remotely, James embraces the idea as the value-add idea for Octane. It’s the last good decision he’ll make on the task. At the beginning of the task, James pays lip service to his team members, apologizing for disrespecting them on past tasks and promising to be a respectful leader as their new project manager. The response from team members range from doubt and distrust to ridicule (sales veteran David Johnson barely stifles his snickers) and outright disgust. “Nobody respects James,” says real estate investment manager Anand Vasudev. “Begging everyone for forgiveness is not going to get him any respect now.”

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  • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

    I read your review & I totally agree. Both James & David deserved to be fired this week. James’ exhibited poor judgment even before the task began by volunteering to be PM. He should have given himself additional time to attempt to change his teammates view of him (although unlikely) before leading a task. He had to know that his team, would never support him and that David at the very least would be willing to suffer a loss in order to get him fired. He essentially volunteered for the firing squad.

    Liza is in a difficult place because she clearly has a bulls eye on her back placed by Stephanie the banker. Stephanie has clearly made this personal. How silly to report that she called Poppi the “b” word? Although I wouldn’t have called her that, in my 15 yrs in business I”ve witnessed far more cut throat exchanges than that. Even Trump found it a bit petty as evidenced by his own use of the word in jest. Furthermore, Liza was right; Stephanie couldn’t give concrete examples to justify why she thought Liza was the weakest link. But Liza needs to be able to articulate that without appearing to have a nervous breakdown. If she wants to survive she’ll have to contol her emotions. If not, Trump(and the viewers) will start to get annoyed with her “almost” tears and interpret them as weakness.

  • Alfred Edmond Jr.

    Nichole;

    You make a great point about Stephanie. She may have overreached in her efforts to discredit Liza by “tattling” about her use of the “b word”, especially in the absence of providing concrete examples of Liza failing to perform on any of her tasks.

    The main problem with Liza’s emotionalism is that she does come off as fearful (or in your words, “about to have a nervous breakdown). She has to change this perception by making her case to be the next Apprentice with calm confidence. She can’t allow her fear of failure to overshadow her determination to succeed, despite the risk of being fired. As a leader, it’s okay to show that you hate to lose, but it’s not okay to show that you are afraid to lose.

    Thanks for weighing in, Nichole! I look forward to more comments from you.

  • Sierra

    I agree that James should have been fired too. I could not believe that he did not bother to talk to the owners of the company first before anything. A great leader needs to be able to listen to the needs and concerns of clients as well as employees.

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      Sierra,

      You are absolutely right. But I’m not surprised James performed so poorly. I seem to remember on Task 1, when Gene was nominated to be project manager, James saying that he was less a leader and more of a behind-the-scenes adviser type. He was never a serious player.

  • Calvin J. Adolph

    I am quickly growing tired of watching “The Apprentice”. At one time I longed for its return to the original format of giving everyday people (and a few overachievers) the opportunity to become an apprentice to Donald Trump (I still don’t know why most of the contestants from the earlier seasons applied in the first place. I believe they already possessed the acumen to successfully navigate the corporate world.) This season’s crop of contestants despite having prestigious credentials is simply boring me. Is ‘The Donald’ going to provoke arguments from the contestants every week before announcing who won the task? I find myself unapologetically indifferent toward wanting any (including the black contestants) of these whining babies to win the coveted prize. We have all endured the recession with battle wounds and scars so I don’t feel sorry for them. However, it seems to me that as soon as you volunteer to be PM and lose a task a job is waiting for you as a reward. Maybe they should all volunteer to be fired so that something else could fill that prime time spot. I so miss watching Kwame, Dr. Randal Pinkett (and even Omarosa) battle it out. Sadly, this is making me wish for the celebrities (at least then the money goes to charities).

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      Calvin,

      So far, I am enjoying this season of The Apprentice. However, I agree that it feels like Trump is trying too hard (I’m sure at the urging of the producers) to create more drama in the board room (for example, pretending to fire Liza and pitting contestants against one another), to the point where it sometimes comes off as gimmicky. Ironically, his son and daughter provide far more insightful assessments of the candidates performances than he has thus far.

      I also agree that the fact that the contestants are all victims (and I use the term loosely) of the recession is a non-starter. Most of these people will have no problem getting work as the economy stabilizes and recovers; the others are clearly unemployed for reasons other than the recession, even though the economy may have provided cover for their employers to cut them loose. That said, the opportunity for a quarter-million-dollar employment contract, along with the chance to showcase yourself on a global media stage, is still a pretty strong incentive for competing on the show–especially if you already have the acumen to successfully navigate the corporate world. If you are a really talented business professional, the exposure of being on The Apprentice, even if you don’t win the job, can’t hurt; it can only help. Both Kwame and Omarosa, as well as many others, are ample proof of that.

      That said, I don’t know if the show will ever seem as good to most of us as the first four editions of The Apprentice. (Hey, American Idol is not as good as it used to be either.) We may never see the likes of Kwame, Omarosa and Dr. Pinkett again. But after enduring the celebrity versions of the show, I’m willing to give the 2010 edition more time. Within the next week or two, the remaining weak links among these candidates will likely be eliminated, leaving the strongest candidates to compete; I expect the quality of the show and the impressiveness of the talent pool to improve dramatically by then.

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