Well, after the departure of Chris Farrell from the Apprentice Boardroom, what qualities does the winner need to possess?
After all, Chris was liked by everyone, played fair, worked hard and seemed to lose out due to friend Jamie’s transgression, not really his own.
For it was Jamie’s idea to shift the appointment Chris was making from 9am to 1pm. Their team lost the task as a result. Chris was summoned back to the Boardroom.
Have you ever been in a job interview where it seemed to go really well, but you didn’t get the job?
It was a bit like this in the Boardroom. Lord Sugar hardly had a bad word to say about Chris, and yet he fired him.
Each week of the competition, a weak quality gets singled out in a candidate. It’s the same each year.
By now we have a pretty clear idea of what Lord Sugar doesn’t like. And it’s as if the candidates spend a lot of their time trying not to do the things they know he dislikes.
But what things does he like?
“Business acumen”, he tells us. But what does this consist of?
I suspect the winning candidate will be multi-dimensional, i.e. not one-dimensional.
So you need to be able to sell, but not just sell.
You need to be able to plan, but not just plan, but execute and see the task through as well.
You need to be personable, but “nice” is no good, particularly if it gets in the way of handling awkward conflicts in your team.
Most businesses I know have one big problem: succession. Who is capable of taking over? There are plenty of pretenders for this role.
And Lord Sugar’s empire is no different. Lord Sugar needs another “lord sugar”.
Someone with the knack of spotting what could work. Someone with the capability to get it done, the resilience to get up when things fall over, and someone with the determination to see it through and bank the profit.
But it’s not called “The Apprentice” for nothing. Ultimately the man who thinks he is unpopular will have to try to discern all this and more from the people before him, from a mottly crew, and some of them rookies.
And this must surely be the toughest task of all! It’s the ultimate test of leadership: to find another leader.