Was Sandeesh right?

BBC Apprentice hopeful Sandeesh Samra asked a very relevant question on the follow up show (16.30 mins in):

“I didn’t game-play. I didn’t back-stab. Maybe those are the qualities you need to be an Apprentice?”

Was she right? How about working in the real world of business or elsewhere?

Is “game-playing” a good method of career advancement?

In my experience it definitely happens. The bigger the organisation and the more hierarchical, the worse it gets.

But is it effective? Ethical?

I don’t think it will be effective on The Apprentice. There’s too much scrutiny from Lord Sugar and his eyes and ears, Karren Brady and Nick Hewer.

In “real” life it can be effective in getting  you ahead, but only up to a point.

The worst problem of being promoted for the wrong reasons is the risk of being incapable of doing the job properly. From the organisation’s perspective it loses out big time.

The person in charge loses money, goodwill, stock market value and good people. It’s a common pattern.

It’s also pretty bad for those who were passed over. There’s a reaction to this like a sort of “people’s memory”.

The team logs the unfairness and works against it.

I once did an “Apprentice”-type exercise. Sure enough there was a game player/back-stabber in the team.

All by himself he managed to get to lead one of the tasks, tried to go for glory, and ended up falling flat on his face, so to speak. No one was even allowed to help.

It’s almost as if game-playing and back-stabbing are actually self-limiting.

Personally I believe Sandeesh showed good integrity and would do well to stick to her guns!

Later episodes: English proud of Stella

Apprentice 2011: Vincent van Cloche; There’s no accounting for Edward

Stuart gets the sack

Are the Apprentice girls growing up?

Laura learns her lesson

More articles on The Apprentice

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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.
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1 Response to Was Sandeesh right?

  1. Tim says:

    It was a very good point that Sandeesh made.

    I agree that game-playing is self-limiting. As in real life, it can certainly help an Apprentice candidate climb the greasy pole – politics is a part of any organisation of a certain size – but it can only get you so far. It may help a candidate survive a few extra weeks, but they will always be found out at the interview stage or in the final, where there is nowhere to hide.

    It’s also ultimately self-defeating. As the process continues, the other candidates start to figure out who the main back-stabbers are, and will ensure they are prepared to deal with them. At the end of last week’s episode, there was a definite ‘look’ from Chris towards Jamie which suggested he has rubbed him (and others) up the wrong way. I can’t see Chris doing anything to support Jamie’s cause in the coming weeks, and this would really come home to roost in the final, where the contender’s teams have no reason to support a PM they don’t like if they don’t want to.

    Consequently, in my analysis of the employability prospects of the final 8, Jamie gets marked down in my book – not because he lacks capability, but because he lacks integrity:


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