Apprentice Week 01: The Most Important Lesson in Business

Shut up.

That's it. Just Shut Up.

I'm a big fan of Trump's Apprentice. It's one of those great yell at the TV screen shows. There are also some key business lessons that can be learned. I know, it's not really a job interview; it's entertainment. But there is plenty of value in there.

The most important and compelling lesson from this show so far, is the importance of knowing when to say nothing.

Many of the people who get fired in boardroom are fired not only because of what they did, but what they said attempting to defend themselves.

****Potential Spoiler Alert If you haven't watched Monday's episode, yet.*****

Okay. Summer was on the borderline of being fired. Then Trump starts going after the project manager and seems about to fire him. What does Summer do?

She interrupts Trump to defend the guy who is about to be fired.
This is the guy who tried to organize everyone else to go after her.
This is the guy who's management style she disagreed with.
This is the guy whom she predicted had led their team to failure before knowing the results.
This is the guy who is about to be fired instead of her.

And she interrupts Trump. Trump then turns to her to suggest she should be quiet. She keeps talking and interrupting. She finally talked her way into being fired.

Last season, Rebecca seemed to have mastered that lesson. She spoke up only when absolutely necessary in the boardroom. When Trump went after someone, she generally let him go, unless Trump asked her opinion. When two people went after one another, she stayed out of it. As a result she made it all the way to the final two.

Of course the classic example of talking your way out of the show is Bradford who in Season two was given an exemption, and in the heat of the boardroom exchanges, waived it. That stupidity got him fired.

Of course, staying quiet is harder than it might seem. It's a lesson I keep trying to remember. Generally, I learn a lot more when I remain quiet and listen to others. I find I'm most likely to get in trouble in various aspects of life by speaking too much, rather than too little. It's all about tying to keep my ego on a tight leash, and why most of the entries in this blog end up several paragraphs shorter when I publish them than when I write them.

This ties back to one of my earlier posts about writing. A key element of good writing is editing or cutting material. A key element for success in business is know when to stay quiet and not say anything.

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