The Apprentice 2010: Task 3 Performance Review

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James goes on to prove that his team was right to doubt him. He also repeatedly disrespects the owner of the pet store. When the owner walks away clearly annoyed by how he is treated by James, real estate attorney Clint Robertson urges James to bring him back and make amends, reminding him that the owner will be among those judging Octane on this task. James blows Clint off and angers and alienates Wade by assigning him the task of decorating the spa entrance despite his experience with and obvious love for dogs. All through the task, David remains as disruptive and insubordinate as ever. While David is totally out of line, James further diminishes his stature as project manager by quarreling with David in the presence, and later within earshot, of the pet store owner. James eventually dismisses David from the task, but by then it’s too little, too late. He has lost any chance of gaining respect from the remaining members of the team. And even the squabble which led to David being dismissed was over something inconsequential to the task–the decor of the pet spa entrance. That James even let that become a priority is just more evidence of how little he understood the objective of the task.

By contrast, Fortitude pulls off their management of the pet hotel/spa pretty much without a hitch. Discovering that Tuesday is a slow sales day at the spa, the team creates a “Tailwag Tuesdays” value-add package, consisting of a “doggy bag” of promotional treats and a photo and report card of each pet’s activities for their owners on that day. The idea is embraced by the pet store owner. Project Manager Tyana assigns herself to the front desk to greet customers, over the strong objection of assistant district attorney Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy, who sites a strong fear of dogs and her 15 years of experience at the front desk of her mother’s beauty salon. While Tyana clearly intends to put Mahsa into a position of vulnerability by assigning her to work with the largest dogs at the spa (tasking Kelly to handle the small dogs), she was right to not put Mahsa at the front desk. Mahsa, despite her insistence that she is “incredible with clients,” is a pit bull; she’s the last person I’d want to have making first contact with customers. Tyana, on the other hand, is clearly good at charming customers, a skill required of all successful real estate agents. The closest Fortitude ever comes to a “crisis” (more a minor glitch, despite the accompanying dramatics), is the corruption of graphic files for the doggie report cards and signage for the pet store, discovered about 15 minutes before the end of business. Liza, who was assigned responsibility for designing the graphics, quickly sends corrected files to the printer.

The Result: Another crushing defeat for Octane, which looks as unfocused and disjointed as James’ amazingly inarticulate explanation of his team’s concept to dog whisperer Cesar Millan, a guest judge on this task. James even fails to mention his team’s value-add, the doggie cams (Clint finally brings it to Millan’s attention)–the only thing he likes about Octane’s effort. Fortitude on the other hand, wows Trump, the pet spa owners, and the other judges, including Millan. In fact, during her live chat with BlackEnterprise.com after the show aired last night, Kelly shared that Fortitude’s Tailwag Tuesday promotion would continue to be used by the spa. As the winning project manager for Fortitude, Tyana is rewarded with a meeting with Black Enterprise Titan and hip-hop industry pioneer Russell Simmons.

Who I Would Have Fired: I would have fired both James and David. David’s out-of-control, unprofessional and insubordinate behavior is inexcusable. Worse is his total willingness to see his entire team fail if he doesn’t get his way. David got away with this behavior thanks to Gene leading Octane to victory on Task 1. Since then, the only explanation for his multiple stays of execution is that he probably now has people tuning in to see just what it will take for him to get fired.

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