How does Surgeon Apprentice get the chop?

It was good to see Karren Brady and Nick Hewer getting more air time in Episode 3 of BBC’s The Apprentice. They are Lord Sugar’s unbiased eyes and ears. They don’t miss much.

For the edited highlights we get to see, once again “it’s not pretty” Hewer reminds us.

But was does the surgeon Shibby do wrong this week?

His ability and training as a doctor do not completely furnish him with the skills and aptitude for business that the project he manages requires.

Mistakes and inexperience are not always penalised on The Apprentice. Unless they are colossal.

The doctor obliges. To manage others, a man must first manage himself. Dr Shibby has to negotiate with a customer and offers instead what can only be described as a “strop”.

This is a bizarre episode, rather like watching a recalcitrant child refusing to eat peas at the table. “No I won’t” is the message.

Dr Shibby seems to have forgotten that the buyer could potentially give him money for what he could sell.

This is a sales meeting, not a pushy receptionist sticking another patient on his list.

Brady rightly looks incredulous. Shibby’s colleagues offer advice too. Paradoxically, that they can approach him at all, shows something.

I was reminded at the start of the programme, that the contestants live together. It may be in a posh mansion, but bunk beds still resemble a youth hostel. In such a close environment relationships will have been forged or broken by now.

Sure enough you sense that his colleagues generally rate him. He can’t be a bad bloke?

Getting on well with people gets you a long way along the road to being able to manage them. But it’s not enough.

Not only does he have that weird tantrum, he blows more profit on providing uncalled-for compensation for the restaurant owner he let down. Delivering just 16 bread rolls out of 1,000 ordered was fatal.

So too was the lack of communication between production and sales. I sense behind this, the doctor had no real grasp of how to manage the task.

To be a good surgeon you need manual dexterity and an encyclopedic knowledge of human anatomy for starters.

To be good at business he needed much more knowledge of what the various parts of business do, to “see” the end result, and the dexterity to pull it all together. He showed none of this.

I thought I was beginning to tire of programmes like this, but I actually think this is a good illustration of what goes wrong in business from time to time.

The problems vary of course. For me the most challenging variable is the people in business and how they do.

Business success also takes more than a little luck. Melissa was very lucky. Somehow she survives for another week. Her team carried her.

Future episodes: Alex Epstein: was it unfair dismissal?

How does Paloma’s strategy fail her?

Apprentice Mel:are they “horrible people”?

How do you solve a problem like Melissa?

See also earlier reviews:

How to win your task: Stella Apprentice;

Desperate Dan gets fired;

Lord Sugar v Piers Morgan;

The Apprentice: what lies in store?

About drstevelewis

Good leadership is essential for any project to succeed. I specialise in the most difficult leadership challenges; those involving the way we relate to other people or the way they relate to us. With a background of many years in business and an earlier training in medicine I combine the two in a unique consultancy.
This entry was posted in Conflict, Finding success in business, Managing people, The Apprentice, TV reviews, You're fired and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How does Surgeon Apprentice get the chop?

  1. Mike says:

    I have just watched episode 3 of the apprentice and i have to say i’m disappointed that Shibby was evicted from the process. He clearly had the potential to be the next apprentice from his efforts and through his next steps from his mistakes. Due to the efforts of the team it was unfortunate that he didn’t make as much profit whereas on the other team where the team leader was pathetic, the team she had pulled it through. If anyone in Shibby’s team are to be evicted, think Shandeesh should have been the one off as her overall efforts were weak. There was clearly no shine in her at any moment except causing chaos by arguing instead of following requirements from the team leader as that time wasted could have been the difference in winning.

  2. Tim says:

    I have a little (but not much) sympathy for Shibby. He was badly let down by members of his team – Sandeesh did the absolute minimum and Paloma sold well but consistently promised more than the team could deliver.

    Shibby was right to walk away from the second order because he was aware of the team’s capacity issues. The way he handled it, however – changing his mind in front of the customer – was appalling. He should have had a plan beforehand to manage the situation. Personally, I would have bumped up the price to the customer and limited the maximum volume. That way, if you lose the order you do so without losing face, and if you win the order, you maximise profit and prioritise that order over the other one without killing the ‘factory’.

    Generally speaking, the commercial deals were a bit of a red herring. Hotels & retailers are always going to squeeze suppliers on margin, so the teams would not have made much profit for a hell of a lot of work. It would possibly have been better to ignore the trade deals altogether, and focus on producing muffins (and maybe croissants) for the consumer market – tempting impulse purchases (if you were wandering through Covent Garden, would you buy a plain roll or a baguette on spec like that?) with enormous mark-ups.

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