Apprentice Week 10: You Can't Turn Lead into Gold?

Another poor choice by Trump. He fired the right person, but he did it for the wrong reason.

In th beginning, Trump managed to waste a good 60 seconds of NBC airtime defending his hair.
And explaining it's not a wig.

And telling us that people give him a hard time about his hair.

And having Charmaine check his hair to explain it's not a wig.

And defending his hair.


And the candidates dutifully laughed as though this was the funniest thing since William Shatner rapped Shakespeare.

If you don't want to know what happened, visit playcole.com. If you are ready to dive into this week's Apprentice, grab a beverage and keep reading.
After a poor showing by Gold Rush, Trump fired both Charmaine and Tarek. That was wrong in two ways. Tarek did not need to be fired over this task. And, while firing Charmaine was the right thing to do, Trump did it for the wrong reason.

Trump fired Charmaine because she couldn't manage Tarek. He fired Tarek because Tarek was completely unmanageable.

Table of Contents

  1. Lessons Learned
  2. Why Turmp is Wrong
  3. Fallout From the Boardroom
  4. The Task
  5. Team Synergy
  6. Team Gold Rush
  7. The Boardroom

Lessons Learned

  1. Merchandising and displaying product is a means. It is not an end.
  2. Demand generation is critical to success.
  3. Failing to do the impossible is grounds for termination.
  4. Trump's hair is real.

Why Trump is Wrong

He fired Charmaine because she couldn't manage someone who is fundamentally unmanageable. He fired her because she couldn't do the impossible.

He may could have fired her for failing to turn the sky red. Or failing to stop the terrifying reign of The Burger King. Or for failing to make customers materialize out of thin air.

Charmaine did need to go. She deserved to be fired, but for a different reason. Charmaine lost this task because she ignored demand generation. It doesn't matter how pretty a display is if there is no one to see it.

She had $3,500 at her disposal. I'd like to know how she spent it. I saw a few balloons, and of course the flyers Tarek and Lee passed out. Oh, there was a banner in the store, too.

She could have done so much more. She could have looked into some one day radio ads. Or a nice prize giveaway. Or she could have gone to the other mall tenants, and asked them to pass out coupons to their customers in exchange for a piece of the sale. She could have hired entertainment. She could even have delegated demand generation to Lee or Tarek and let them run, and possible fall, with it. There are a lot of things she could have done to drive traffic into the store.

Instead, she, and her team, spent all their prep time setting up displays.

That's why she deserved to be fired.

Fall Out from the Boardroom

Before we get into the task details this week, let's take a look at what happened after last week's boardroom.You may recall that Trump fired the wrong person last week, too.

When Allie, Roxanne, and Sean came back up to the suite, they told Gold Rush what happened. Allie said everyone felt Andrea needed to go. Much to his credit, Sean did not leave it at that. He corrected her and, in an understated manner, said he told Trump Allie should have been fired.

That wasn't an easy thing to see. The best thing – politically – for Sean to do would have been to keep quiet. But his need to be honest would not allow that.

Later, Allie tore into Sean. She accused him plotting to get rid of her to save his own chances. He was undermining her initiatives and strategizing against her. Allie then claimed she had no strategy. Which is a complete lie. She also claimed, “We don't tell you who to go after” which was another complete lie. Has she already forgotten how she called for Andrea's blood to be sprayed across the boardroom?

Allie Jr, I mean Roxanne, then said, “We don't play games. We're straight shooters.” Which is about as accurate as pre-war CIA Iraq intelligence.

Sean, however, seems to be the most honest of the candidates.

The Task

The Hair Cuttery is a hair styling chain with more than 1,000 locations in the US and Britain. I never heard of them, either.

The Hair Cuttery scheduled two Long Island Grand Openings on the same day. The teams each had to prepare a salon and support the opening day. The team that generated the most sales would win. For details, see the task dossier.

They didn't mention this on the show, but each team had $3,500 in seed money to use on the task. This money would not count against their revenue goal. Neither team spent it well; they seemed to just print off some copies at Kinko's and buy some balloons.

Tammy led Synergy to victory with $1,005 in sales. Charmaine, the Gold Rush PM, was not so effective. Her team brought in just $700.

Team Synergy

With Tammy as the project manager, and the team still reeling from last week's emotional board room, Synergy went to work.

Sean figured it out early on. He said, “I basically had to work and not screw up.” After last week's boardroom, he felt Allie had tattooed a bullseye to the back of his neck. And he was right. But he did have a good relationship with Tammy.

Allie and Roxanne strongly aligned themselves with each other. Actually it seems more like Roxanne became Allie's lapdog. She goes wherever Allie goes and will not contradict her. She acts as the “rational” voice to Allies stronger, more emotional one. But the are talking about the same things and taking the same positions.

As the store began coming together, Sean and Tammy passed out flyers around town. They talked to people and told them about the upcoming event.

Tammy had Allie and Roxanne stay behind putting the shop together. I'm not sure if Tammy made that decision, or if Allie decided that's what she wanted to do, and Tammy was too weak of a PM to contradict. Regardless, it worked.

The key to their success was for half the team to do demand generation the night before, while the other half finished the merchandising.

During the task, they had customers in the store, and focused on selling services, and, more importantly, selling the hair care products after the customer gets their hair styled.

Normally, success is an occasion for joy. Not for Team Synergy.

Their prize for winning was to meet Burt Bacharach, who wrote more 19.635 million songs. He took one of his instrumental compositions and worked with Synergy to write the lyrics. Rather than bask in the moment and enjoy the reward, the team bickered.

Allie attacked Tammy at every opportunity. She went out of her way to kill Tammy's suggestions for lyrics. I've seen more mature behavior in a Pauly Shore movie. The camera would cut to Burt's face and he was just appalled at their behavior.

Later on, Tammy said, “I wish we could have all just had love. What the world needs now.”

I don't think she'll last much longer.

Team Gold Rush

Gold Rush, under Charmaine's leadership had problems. First, the team split into two opposing camps – Michael and Charmaine versus Tarek and Lee.

Once the four of the got to the Salon, Charmaine convened the group to decide what they were going to do. As they began planning, Tarek asked about the theme.

Charmaine said the theme was grand opening. Tarek did not feel that was good enough, so they argued about it for a while without actually disagreeing.

Charmaine said she was fine with a theme, if they came up with one.

Tarek said they needed a theme.

Charmaine said that was fine.

Tarek insisted they need a them.

This went on for a while. Finally, they all agreed to a basic theme, which I promptly forgot. It seems they did to, because that was the last we heard of it.

Charmaine wanted to do the theme as long as it was, “would make you happy.” Which is, of course, the essence of leadership.

Throughout the evening, Charmaine had the team focusing on the shop. They set conditioners, shampoos, gels, sprays, mooses, and dozens of other types of hair products, all in different flavors, degrees, sizes, and colors. Charmaine has a clear vision of how to organize the hundreds of bottles, cans and tin. Michael shared her vision, and her appreciation of detail, even straightening them with a ruler.

Tarek and Lee worked on the shelves too. And then Charmaine pointed out all the mistakes they were making and made them do it again. They couldn't figure out which bottles belonged where. She educated them, and they fixed it, but still couldn't get it perfect.

Charmaine's main concern was the merchandising. Lee suggested to her that maybe they were spending too much time on this, and they should go find customers. He was nervous that they hadn't done any marketing. But they all kept working on the merchandising. This was Charmaine's main mistake.

By the next day, the store looked beautiful. The shelves were perfect. The stylists were ready. Everything was set for an exciting day of sales. There was just one small thing missing.


So the marketing plan was for Tarek and Lee to drive around to parking lots and put flyers on cars.

When I find a flyer on my windshield, I generally get annoyed, rather than curious. I've given some though to posting a notice on my Window offering to evaluate flyers for a $500 fee, and to hire my services, a company just needs to leave a flyer on my windshield. I will accept that as agreement to my terms.

Regardless, Lee and Tarek went out to annoy motorists. Did they give up hope? Well, they spent their time in the van discussing what they planned to wear to the boardroom.

Since there were no customers to sell anything to, Charmaine decided to get her hair done. So in the middle of the grand opening, with tumbleweeds rolling through the Salon, Charmaine plops down in the chair and gets her hair done.

Of course, that's when Bill Rancic, Donal Trump's eye and ears, and the Apprentice from season one, walks into the salon to see how things are going.

Her day didn't get any better after that.

Gold Rush lost because Charmaine didn't understand the purpose of merchandising. While she created a beautiful display, a display of products like that is to make it easier for the salespeople to sell. But if there are no customers, there is no point.

The Boardroom

In the boardroom, Trump asked Tarek what he thought of Charmaine as a project manager. Tarek said she was average. Things went down hill from there. But that's not why Trump fired her.

Charmaine said they lost simply because they didn't sell enough product. Traffic wasn't high enough. She never took responsibility for the traffic. But that's not why Trump fired her.

Then, of course, Bill Rancic tore into her for getting her hair done. She claimed someone had to “go through the process” to better sell and explain it to customers. Of course Bill and Trump were having none of that. Since she was getting her hair done during the afternoon of the grand opening, she wasn't all that convincing. But that's not why Trump fired her.

She blamed Tarek for their loss. She claimed he was impossible to manage.

Tarek claimed Charmaine was a poor PM with no leaderships skill. Tarek cited her insistence that the group reach consensus, rather than just making a decision herself, as one of her failings.

Michael sided with Charmaine.

Lee avoided taking any sides. In the suite before the boardroom, Lee spoke with each team member individually, and encouraged them to all attack one another. It was pretty slick background work.

So Charmaine and Tarek spent the rest of the boardroom arguing with one another. Charmaine claimed Tarek could not be managed. “He's the project manager on every task” (or something similar) according to Charmaine. They lost because he is unmanageable.

Not so, according to Tarek. Charmain is a terrible leader who cannot just make a decision.

So Trump fired Charmain because she couldn't manage Tarek.

Then Trump fired Tarek because he is unmanageable.

That's a problem.

It was a quiet cab ride for them.

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