Stuart gets the sack

What a bizarre, and ultimately swift exit!

Stuart Baggs, “the Brand” gets short shrift from Lord Sugar in the semi-final of 2010 Apprentice.

But the odd thing is, we have had weeks and (seemingly endless) weeks of Stuart’s assent, culminating in some rousing oratory in the previous week’s Boardroom.

How could there be such a change of heart from the boss?

It’s a bit like watching a hapless climber scrambling up a steep hill, getting to the top, only to trip over and fall off the cliff on the other side.

This episode was compulsive viewing! We were treated to four gruelling interviews for each of the five semi-finalists.

The interviewers were four of Lord Sugar’s faithful men and true. Well three men and a lady, Margaret Mountford. Miss Mountford is a welcome return to The Apprentice with her shrivelling remarks and expressive eyebrows.

The panel carried out a sort of “hard cop, soft cop” routine. If you find cruelty hard to watch, look away please!

The soft cops did the most damage, with Jamie and Joanna hopelessly exposed. It was sad to watch as Jamie’s confidence seemed to elude him completely.

Joanna made the now annual mistake of not knowing much about Lord Sugar’s companies. To be fair, we are probably more interested in him than we are in Viglen.

When it came to the Boardroom Lord Sugar had to choose three to fire, and two to save for the final.

The first to go was Stuart Baggs. He repeated his misplaced belief, which was some technical point about the type of license his company holds. Sugar had had enough.

We knew Stuart’s CV would come under attack. Somehow I was hoping for a much bigger hole than this.

Was Stuart economical with the truth? Surely that’s what he’s being doing with his bragging for the last ten weeks; exaggerating excessively and making ridiculous claims?

So why the abrupt dismissal now? We can’t argue that his CV was not available before. So the claim he made about lying about a competitor going bust is old news. 

And stranger still, Stuart seemed to be having some kind of epiphany in the Boardroom. He looked chastened by the tough interviews and freely admitted how hard he found it.

There are two kinds of candidate for this process: those who endure it and come out fighting, like Stella, and those who are moulded and changed by it.

Surely this was Stuart? A gobby, rough entrepreneur, getting the corners knocked off him and emerging with his main quality intact. To coin a phrase, he is “exactly what it says on the tin”.

The course of human relationships is not logical or rational. It’s emotional and bumpy. It’s very much like climbing that hill and falling off the cliff.

We make decisions about people, about hiring and firing, binary decisions. We allow our gut instinct to take over and “buy” people one day and fire them the next.

The weird thing is, once we have bought something, we tend to commit to the decision and ignore evidence that runs in the face of it.

That’s why a key “earthing” device is to have people around you who will say what you don’t want to hear.

It took Lord Sugar’s more detached colleagues to do this.

I’m sold on The Apprentice! I think it’s because it is so close to the real thing. It will take a lot to shift that view.

Unless Mrs Lewis disagrees…


With “the final” approaching, can there be any drama left?

As much as we may be glad to see the back of Baggs, I for one will miss the entertainment he provided. And let’s face it, we will never again be able to think of the word “brand” without thinking of Stuart.

More from The Apprentice

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 Are we logical?, Binary thinking, Broken relationships in business, The Apprentice, The power of emotions, TV reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Stuart gets the sack

  1. Tim says:

    Stuart’s firing was brutal – but, let’s face it, it’s the moment we’ve been waiting 11 weeks to see. And, boy, did it deliver as the series’ ultimate pantomime villain finally got his comeuppance.

    I was surprised they made such a big deal about his licence. Not that it wasn’t a giant fib, but it was also quite a technical thing that no doubt had many viewers lost. (It was quite similar to Lee lying about his time at university two years ago -and he somehow got away with that …) The bigger issue for me was the fact that Stuart had defamed a competitor – and then essentially bragged about it on his application. That’s not just a lie – it’s illegal. His breezy “well, we all make mistakes” response was pathetic. There is a BIG difference between making a mistake and deliberately committing an illegal act. This ended up being glossed over in the broadcast episode, but I suspect there was a big discussion between Sugar and Alan Watts about it – Watts has handled libel cases for Sugar before – which may have been dropped from the final edit for legal reasons.

    Finally, oh how we’ve missed Margaret! The line of the night (as she talks about Chris’s academic achievements): “I wouldn’t be surprised if he put his certificates in frames and his idea of a fun night is to sit and admire them.”

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