How can someone as qualified as Edna lose out in the end-of-episode Boardroom duel on BBC’s Apprentice?
Edna has an MBA she tells us. It’s her closing gambit to impress Lord Sugar, as she and Zoe are the final two facing the sack in the “Rubbish” task.
As we recall from many earlier encounters, qualifications don’t really seem to impress Lord Sugar. True they open doors, but this week it was the door to the taxi out of the programme.
And how did tearful Zoe somehow manage a last-minute reprieve?
Zoe and Edna could not have been more different. Edna was accused of trying to take credit for other people’s good ideas, whereas Zoe grabbed the reigns of leadership when the others were passing-the-parcel so to speak.
Zoe would do it, like it or not. As it happened, Zoe didn’t like it much. Watching her work was instructive of the way people are, the way we all are in some respects.
We flip between “parent”, “adult” or “child” states.
Zoe missed both shots at contracts laid on via Lord Sugar. She was gutted and let it show. She cried. It’s probably closest to the “child” state we get. We saw how she felt.
Zoe also had a couple of very clear “parent” moments. Twice we have seen her upbraid a subordinate like a scolding parent. This time it was Susan.
Susan felt she was being treated like a child, and talked down to. To be fair, despite her good ideas, she does talk at high pitch and intensity like a child clamouring for attention.
You could say that Zoe used her “critical parent” to dismiss “the child” in Susan. The effect; the damage to their relationship, was predictable.
To succeed in any project you need your “adult” for all its worth. To think, to focus, to plan.
You also need the creativity of youth and the responsibility of parenthood too, but harnessed and under your control.
Paradoxically, I wonder if Zoe’s openness about her feelings, and her responsibility for the task and its failures actually saved her. This week.
Personally I would prefer this to Edna who is much harder to read. We know we’re not impressed but we’re not sure why.
Personally I’ve found you can get along way with a suit and a firm handshake, but in the end, talent will out.
The same goes for character. It’s harder to fake than to be sincere.
So Edna covers up, whilst Zoe opens up.
Covering-up is endemic in business. Being open is good but Zoe needs to build on her strengths and see when “the parent” needs to be more nurturing too.