Make-Or-Break Leadership Lessons From The Apprentice

Sure, it's "reality" TV. But smart viewers of NBC's hit show learned important rules of business success. Here are four, for starters.

the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end, you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.”

Who got it wrong: Jackson consistently failed to follow plausible strategies with a well-thought-out and executable plan. In fact, in at least one case, he failed to plan at all.

Many African Americans became appalled by Manigault-Stallworth's transformation into the negative stereotype of the combative black female co-worker.

In Jackson’s first stint as a project leader for the then all-male Versacorp, both teams were charged with managing the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Manhattan’s Times Square on consecutive nights. The victor would be the team that generated the largest revenue increase over the same night the previous year. The opposing, all-female Protégé Corporation, led by real estate agent Katrina Campins, was assigned the first night of restaurant operations, giving Jackson’s team an obvious advantage — an extra 24 hours to come up with a plan to profitably manage the restaurant the following evening. Did Jackson and his team spend the day visiting restaurants and talking to restaurant managers, reading books or visiting Websites devoted to the restaurant business? No. They focused on team bonding by playing basketball and the Donald Trump board game.

As a result, Jackson’s Versacorp team failed to deduce in more than a day what Protégé took minutes to discover: Planet Hollywood’s bar accounts for 25% of its business. Protégé, exploiting this information with a plan focused on generating as much bar business as possible, increased restaurant revenues by more than 31%. Jackson’s team managed less than 7% in defeat, proving that the old adage is still true — failing to plan, is planning to fail.

Who got it right: When Protégé and Versacorp were charged with running a fleet of rickshaw cabs for a one-day shift in Manhattan, contestant Amy Henry not only came up with the big idea, she followed through with a scheme to ensure its success. Her big idea for Versacorp: selling advertising space on the rickshaws. But she didn’t stop there. Once she sold Bill Rancic, her project leader for this task, on the strategy, Henry boosted the odds of success by contacting companies she had already established positive relationships with during the competition (such as Marquis Jet, an advertising client from Week 2) to sell ads.

The result? Versacorp destroyed Protégé, delivering $3,680 in profits against a measly $382.68. The difference: Henry’s team generated $3,450 in advertising revenue.

Conclusion: A good strategy is just the beginning. To get the results you want, you have to think things through and come up with ways to test and exploit that stratagem. Good leaders plan the work, and then work the plan — not halfway, but all the way to the desired result.

The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others.

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