The Apprentice 2010: Task 9 Performance Review

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

The competition is Clint's to lose.

important, Clint fiercely defends his integrity, as he demonstrated when Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy was fired after Task 7. Okay, so he may need an image makeover. But Clint has the substance, the smarts and the leadership ability to be The Apprentice. The competition is his to lose.

I once considered Stephanie (1-0), one of my Final 4 picks, to be the most impressive performer among the women candidates. However, her stock has plummeted over the past several weeks, thanks to her obsession with getting Liza fired (without being able to point to a single instance of her failing to come through on a task) and her apparent willingness to put her individual ambition ahead of team success. She’s clearly tough, smart and ambitious, but I can’t imagine her inspiring loyalty and cooperation as a leader.

Liza (0-1) has proven to be extremely intelligent, strategic, perceptive and goal-oriented, as might be expected of a proven entrepreneur. She can still win this thing, but she needs a clear, indisputable victory as project manager, and she has to get past Stephanie (whose been head-gaming her and the other women throughout this competition), both on tasks and in the boardroom. To become The Apprentice, she’ll have to express herself and communicate her strengths clearly and forcefully, without losing control of her emotions, especially when she’s under attack.

Despite having 1-0 records as project managers, Steuart and Brandy still have not impressed me, though Brandy could end up being the last woman standing if Liza and Stephanie end up taking each other out. I really like Steuart, and would love to have him on my team–I think I’d even enjoy serving as his mentor. (Lesson One: Don’t ogle the female co-workers, colleagues, staff or clients, no matter how attractive they are). He has the polish, good ideas and personality to be a valuable team player. Steuart just needs more seasoning before I’d put him in a leadership role.

Who do you choose for your Final 4? And who will be the next apprentice and why? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

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

    Great post Alfred!

    And yes, I must give you major kudos for calling the whole Anand situation. It was clear in the first minute or so, as they started to depict Anand as cocky for the first time, while showing some level of tension with Clint (which I don’t ever recall seeing before) that he was the cheater. That was truly unfortunate. In my opinion, he appeared to be the more polished of all the candidates & had it not been for his major lapse in judgement, he very well may habe been the next Apprentice.

    I totally agree- Just like Kwame Kilpatrick (brilliant comparison!) the text messages alone did not get him in the most trouble. Like Kwame, he lied to the utmost authority. Had he been quick enough on his feet, he could have easily likened his text messaging to the pedicab preselling activities and made the case for being proactive versus dishonest. He could have referenced previous tasks, such as those from the celebrity version where candidates used their resources & relationships to win challenges. I’d bet my 401K that “The Donald’s” business strategies haven’t always been straitlaced while amassing his fortune, so I’m sure he could relate. But lying to Donald Trump, especially after it was clear that he knew about the texting, was beyond stupid. So for that, I have to congratulate Anand-he clearly wins the “Bonehead” title previously held by Mahsa.

    It was clear to me that Fortitude, (AKA the Poppy & Stephanie show) was on the wrong track when all of their brainstorming revolved around the design elements that they both liked as opposed to what would be attractive to the client. The Bedazzler? Really ladies? Don’t they sell that contraption at WalMart? How they equated their design choices for the display with voluptuous sophistication is beyond me. Poppy’s lack of experience & business savvy was never more evident as it was during this task. And the cosigning Stephanie was just as bad. In fact, she’s developing quite a track record for bad ideas. When they greeted the client, including Kim Kardashian, wearing those tacky fur boas, I was pretty certain that the nail was securely in the coffin.

    Liza was impressive & smart for not insisting on a more active role in the task. More involvement =more ownership in the boardroom. She was unimpressed with the Barbie-style design and pretty much just followed directions. Although we weren’t privy to it, my assumption is that she voiced some level of disapproval to her teammates. I would have liked to have seen more though. Liza also did considerably better in the boardroom. I don’t think I saw her eyes water or her lip quiver once! Poppy was the right choice to be fired.

    Octane did a great job. Stueart, if nothing else, certainly has an eye for what’s contemporary. His idea’s are current & fresh and even with his shortcomings, he’s been an asset to the team. Brandy was pretty transparent this week. She straddled the fence, playing the “I’m a tomboy” role and avoided making any design decisions that could land her on the chopping block. If we win-great, if not-it’s not my fault. Clint is a clear leader & although the winning ideas may not always originate with him, he certainly knows how to identify them. If I were him, I’d keep an eye out for Brandy as she’s good at quietly eliminating the competition.

    My final two: Clint & Brandy. Stephanie has lost Trumps respect & he now has her card as it pertains to Liza and I’m not convinced that Stueart or Liza can have a clear cut win as PM based soley on their abilities.

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      Nichol; Great assessment as usual!
      Steuart does have an eye for what’s contemporary–but he needs to remember to not allow it to drop as soon as a beautiful woman comes into view. Note to Steuart: Her eyes are NOT down there! LOL
      Guess you won’t be wearing white fake-fur boas to the New Year’s Eve party this year? LOL

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

        LOL! No I will definitely pass on the boas this New Year’s! But should I fall & bump my head between now & then, I’ll be sure to give Poppy a call to outfit me.

  • Calvin J. Adolph

    I would love to extensively comment on why this episode was terrible, but I believe that every issue was already addressed. As we approach the end of this season, I think it is very evident why The Apprentice has been a waste of time. I am only haunted by the image that when The Apprentice has reached its run on NBC, some watered down version of it will appear on BET (God forbid!). I don’t like the games that ‘The Donald’ has been playing with all of the candidates (I thought this was supposed to be a way to aid those who have been down on their luck. It seems to me to only be a way to shamelessly plug Trump’s varied ventures.). I agree with Nichole that there seems to be a double standard between both the ‘regular’ and ‘celebrity’ versions. It also seems to me that Trump has run out of friends to offer parting jobs to his rejects. Alfred, thank you for not only proving my point but also printing it for all of the world to see (“But Clint has the substance, the smarts and the leadership ability to be The Apprentice. The competition is his to lose.”). I believe I was the first to suggest Clint’s ultimate victory. Stephanie will be the next to leave, followed closely by Liza and Brandy. Clint and Steuart will be the final two (Clint will surround Steuart with a bevy of beautiful women and Steuart’s head will explode, leaving Clint to become Trump’s apprentice by default.). This show has always run a distant third for me, behind Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice (I never knew doctors could be so promiscuous).

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      Calvin;
      You indeed identified Clint as the winner of this edition of The Apprentice, certainly long before I did. But Steuart in the final two? Still don’t see it. But it would be worth it to see your scenario of Clint making Steuart lose it by surrounding him with beautiful women! LOLOLOL

  • BaberDashery

    Alfred,

    Great recap. Your summary of Anand was perfect! You called it down to the candidate, task, and the reason why he sent the text message.  Okay, I thought Anand was a smart individual; however, he has to be the most brainless candidate to date.  You lied to the Donald when he specifically said that he has knowledge and evidence of someone cheating during a task. Really, you lied to his face as if Trump was making this up! This is the Apprentice not the “Land of Make Believe!”  His should have told the truth! Additionally, he should have said “NO” when Trump asked him if he wanted him to read the email. His 15 minutes of fame has converted into 15 years of being regarded as the most dishonest reality television star (NOT) to date! He’ll be in the red for years!

    The task this week was simple! Design a POP for the new Kim Kardashian fragrance. I can name a ton of things the Octane did wrong, but the level of tackiness by Poppy and Stephanie supersede their many faults.  What were they thinking? Nichole, I hope you are right about Liza, because she needs to voice her concerns to the team instead of the 30:sec confessionals.  I will give her the benefit of the doubt this time!  I was happy that she did not get emotional in the boardroom, but I did notice some passion—a good thing. Did you see their faces (Poppy, Stephanie and Liza) when they exchanged their display photos? PRICELESS! They knew they lost the task.

    Clint did a great job as PM and deserved the win. However, without Steuart’s creative thinking, I am not sure what they would have produced. Brandi was not a huge factor creatively, nor was Clint. Yet, Clint did manage the task well, motivated his team and executed STEUART’S vision of the POP.

    In the end, Poppy deserved to be fired. I think Trump should have done a double firing and fired Stephanie as well!

    My final four candidates: Steuart, Clint, Brandi, Stephanie.  Liza will not make the cut.  I know that Trump likes her, but I think she will be fired soon.  Stephanie will also be fired after that. Her harsh attitude and will be her demise. Steuart and Clint head-to-head! My money is on the creative Steuart! He can look at Ivanka when he gets hired! LOL!

    • BaberDashery

      I apologize. I meant text message not email when referring to Donald Trump calling out Anand!

  • Renee

    It appears The Apprentice is not a popular show as it was in the beginning a few years ago. I am curious; why is it that some people don’t even look at the original Apprentice anymore? I don’t care for The Celebrity Apprentice but I still watch it because I like The Apprentice. So I was THRILLED when they brought back the original Apprentice.

    Alfred were you doing performance reviews on The Celebrity Apprentice?

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      No, I did not do reviews of the celebrity versions of The Apprentice, because I felt that it was too far beyond the reality of an authentic business competition, and thus offered little in the way of lessons for the entrepreneurs and professionals who comprise the Black Enterprise audience.

      I, too was thrilled when they went back to the original version of The Apprentice. But I fear that between using the show for heavy-handed product placement and promotions and the pressure to create reality show drama in the boardroom, that performance on the actual tasks (and the lessons that can be learned) are falling by the wayside. With television dominated by reality shows (far more than when The Apprentice first debuted), it may be harder and harder for The Apprentice to maintain enough value and relevance, and still be entertaining, to be competitive.

  • Maya

    Anand made a mistake. He was afraid to admit the truth when confronted. Haven’t we all been there? I think it’s unfair to be so judgemental of him. Trump is a prick to pretend to want to help these affected by the recession, only to spit them out to attempt to better his poor ratings. I wish Anand the best and hope potential employers are intelligent enough to see through reality TV bs.

    • Jenna

      Oh no you didn’t. You might excuse Anand’s cheating, but you CAN NOT excuse the fact that he LIED to cover up his cheating. He still has not come to terms with what he has done. Tyana (contestant this season) has a podcast where she interviews contestants as they get fired. I listened to it and Anand is trying to justify his cheating and lying by saying that people like Donald Trump and Bill Gates didn’t get where they are today by playing everything above board. He continues to dig his hole deeper and prove that he just doesn’t get it. He IS dishonest, he IS a cheater, and he absolutely thinks that these qualities are required in business today. He is a moral leper. Stay away.

    • BaberDashery

      Then we should excuse Bernie Madoff too! They both were dishonested and cheated just to get to the top. I hope Wall Street embraces more stock brokers like him. Not really!!!

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

      OK calm down everybody…It’s really not that deep.

      Maya, Anand did make a mistake-you’re right; and I also agree with you that many people when caught off guard, and not knowing what proof may be presented, may be tempted to lie rather than admit to an embarrassing faux pas. Thats not unusual. However, I don’t think it’s fair to call Trump the “p word” (or anyone, for something like this) for doing what he does best-Look for every opportunity to leverage the Trump brand & expand his empire. I’m not mad at him…why are you? Isn’t that what we all hope to do in some respect?

      I’ve said this before, these contestants are not in a soup line waiting for Trump’s pity & benevolence! Nor does he owe them that. They are contestants on a REALITY TV SHOW. So, Maya if you really expected this to be an exercise in charity for “The Donald”, I’m sorry-wrong show. You might want to check out Extreme Home Makeover or something…

      Jenna/BaberDashery: While it was completely appropriate that Anand be fired, I don’t know that I would go as far as to compare him with Madoff! LOL! Nor would I further define this man (and I dont know him) as an overall dishonest cheater. There are those that have those character flaws and should not be trusted, but we cant make that call based on his poor judgement in this case.

      I too have heard him speak about the incident and he has said that he is still haunted by what he did, wishes he could take it back, but chooses not to let that define him (in so many words). He also says that other than that incident, he is proud of the way he performed on the show & believes that he could have made it to the end. I have heard him also say that we would all be surprised at the level of dishonesty & cheating on the show (I wouldn’t be) & that he just happened to get caught. I don’t expect Anand or anyone who makes an error in judgement or a mistake to continue to LIVE in that and apologize forever. If he appears confident and wants to move beyond what happened on the Apprentice, well good for him and I totally agree.

      Finally, Anand is right. Donald Trump and other successful businessmen & women did not get to where they are by always having the most squeaky clean business practices. In fact, there’s a good chance that Anand would still be on the show had he not lied to Donald Trump. There is a difference between being and unethical and criminal in business and being shrewd & cutthroat. Anand tried to get an acquaintance to bring money/or buy a pedicab ride. Some of your most respected business giants have been instrumental in putting competitors out of business to gain market share. As I’m sure you all know, some of the things that go on in the REAL business world would make Anand’s actions look like childs play.

  • Sharon Jackson

    Alfred, I agree with your assessment with one exception: Liza is horrible. She does not speak out. Ever. I agree with Stephanie that Liza holds her tongue throughout the tasks. She’s almost like a wallflower robotically performing. Her assessments of the tasks when conducting her mini-interviews are usually spot on but she fails to be courageous enough to voice them to the team when the tasks are in progress. I do not respect that. A true leader is strong enough to speak his or her mind in a clear, concise tone regardless of bulldogs like Stephanie. She has yet to do this. Liza especially by now should be able to voice her opinions to the team during the task at hand not in the safety of the boardroom or in front of the cameras, alone. If she cries or comes near tears in the boardroom one more time…

    I picked Clint as the winner weeks ago and I stand by that. Yes, he is a country boy with an almost “aw shucks” vernacular. A makeover would not hurt – but his moral compass, instincts, and proven ability to lead a team to victory is what impresses me more. It is actually quite refreshing to see someone who does not have that city slicker shine like Anand did. Anand never impressed me and I never chose him as a finalist. I chose Clint as the clear winner not ruling out Stephanie. I sure hope Clint pulls it out.

  • Alfred Edmond Jr.

    For the record, I am in no way saying that you can draw conclusions about Anand’s character and personal integrity from what we’ve seen on The Apprentice. I point to his “cheating” on the task (which I still say would not have necessarily led to his termination) and then lying about it as the reasons why Trump fired him, not as absolute proof of Anand being a person lacking integrity.

    Bernie Madoff was guilty of a long-term pattern of illegal and immoral behavior over the course of decades, backed by reams of evidence and witness testimony in a fairly public court case. You can’t compare that to what amounts to a few minutes (not counting what was edited out) of recorded missteps and a heavily edited boardroom session on a reality TV show.

    When I was being interviewed by various media outlets about Randal Pinkett becoming the first African American to win The Apprentice, I often said that if, years from now, the only memorable thing Randal had done was to win a reality show competition, then that would qualify as a failed career. Similarly, I think Anand showed plenty of professionalism, business savvy and other positive attributes during his time on The Apprentice (which is why I had him as my front-runner to win this season); you can’t just disregard that because of the mistakes he made that got him fired.

    There’s no reason to believe that Anand won’t go on to a successful business career that will make his performance on The Apprentice the footnote it ultimately deserves to be for him and every contestant on the show. As Nichol says (see comments above), The Apprentice is not that deep.

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