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. Each week the contestants must complete a business task. The winners are rewarded; the losers must report to the infamous boardroom, where at least one candidate will be fired by Trump. Of the three African Americans featured on this edition of The Apprentice, only Liza Mucheru-Wisner remains. With each task of The Apprentice 2010, I will post performance reviews of the candidates, their teams and their project managers.
Leadership Lesson: Great leaders know that in victory, the entire team gets credit, but in defeat, the buck stops with the leader. Therefore, there is no upside to rejecting the input of your team members and relying solely on your own ideas. If you want to take sole credit for success, be prepared to accept sole accountability for failure.
TASK 10: Create 30-second commercials for AT&T mobile TV. Results will be judged on three criteria: creativity, representation of the brand and concise messaging.
Steuart Martens leads Clint Robertson and Brandy Kuentzel as project manager for Fortitude. Stephanie Castagnier is project manager for Octane, which consists of just her and Liza. The is the second stint as PM for both Steuart and Stephanie, both of whom where victorious in leadership on earlier tasks.
Stephanie opens by saying she has no experience with advertising, but she makes it clear from the beginning that Liza’s input is neither required nor welcomed. “I am a one-man show and I have a secretary that handles my paperwork.” Stephanie decides on two scenes for Octane’s commercial, an office scene and an outdoor scene at a sports arena. Her concept is to “put people in situations they don’t want to be in” and give them an escape through mobile TV.
When Liza suggests a scene featuring a mother being overwhelmed by her kids on a play date in the park, Stephanie rejects it out of hand, and proceeds to assign Liza all of the grunt work, including accounting, securing locations, casting actors and calling the director of photography. However, when it’s time to meet with the photography director, Stephanie takes exception to Liza taking the lead in providing direction and wants her to fall back and “shut the f–k up, because I’m the boss.” Stephanie becomes even more frustrated when Liza is unable to secure locations–neither an appropriate office or sporting venue are available in time for the shoot. Stephanie decides to improvise the office scene using furniture at the studio, while making it clear, in the presence of the photography director and others, that she considers Liza’s failure to secure locations as further proof of her incompetence. An agitated Liza leaves the studio to work on the other tasks