Miss Ellie miss-fires

In BBC’s Apprentice Episode 5 there are some serious sackings going on!

After about 30 seconds we knew that Vince wasn’t going to make it through. Chosen as project manager by Lord Sugar, Vince had to invent some dog food with the aim of impressing some brand experts.

Ignorance is bliss. Vince like many of us, knows very little about dogs. The key point is this: ask a friend.

Experts were on hand to offer just the help he needed, for example a vet. Vince ignored the advice that different sized dogs need different types of food, and ignored his teammates, and opted for a one-size-fits all.

He was strident and decisive. But wrong. His team lost.

Unfortunately Vince did heed some advice, from his mate Jim, who suggested the “Every Dog” concept. Jim was very convincing, to Vince at any rate.

When you lose the task, as manager, your next job is to determine who to bring back to the boardroom for the firing. Trouble is, when it’s your fault that’s tricky.

Vince couldn’t bring back Jim because he felt Jim was too strong. So bizarrely he brought back Natasha who’d delivered a strong performance as a film director, better than the other team in fact.

And he brought back Ellie.

I actually like Ellie. She’s straight talking, not two-faced. Of what I have seen of her, I feel I could trust her. That’s saying something for this lot.

But Ellie was on notice. She’d been too much in the shadows before and the accusation stuck this time. Lord Sugar fired her.

Rather than learning the required Apprentice behaviour of “shout over everyone else”, Ellie chose to withdraw. You got the sense on the “You’re Fired” follow-up show that she had decided she no longer wanted it.

It’s a shame we will now not see her undoubted talents as a project manager in future episodes. It does still beg the question of why she entered the show, if she knew what it was like.

But Ellie’s firing provoked a much greater horror. Had Lord Sugar gone mad? Surely he can’t have missed Vince?

We’d forgotten that the boss can sack as many duffers as he likes. Vince was slain. 95% of the world’s population breathed a sigh of relief.

There could be another rule in “You’re Fired!”: Know when to quit.

Poor Vince didn’t. To me there was little evidence that he knew or understood what he had done wrong. He was still maintaining it was a good brand.

I felt myself squirming at the seriousness with which he took his position on a comedy show. Comedy is merciless and he was mercilessly exposed. He needs a new coach.

Miss Ellie on the other hand came out better and stronger for the experience. She can hold her head high.

Earlier episodes: Felicity fails to follow;  Vincent van Cloche; There’s no accounting for Edward


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 Brand, Leadership problems, The Apprentice 2011, TV reviews, Why we don't take advice, You're fired and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Miss Ellie miss-fires

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  4. Tim says:

    Vince had accumulated a catalogue of sins over his five weeks – not least a complete lack of listening skills – so it was little surprise when he finally went.

    Ellie’s biggest fault was that she refused to play the game and enter the he/she-who-shouts-loudest contest. It’s not the way one behaves in the real business world, but it is the surest way to make yourself heard on The Apprentice. She might have been very good, she might not. Sadly we never got to find out, but she was one of the few candidates who can genuinely leave with their head held high.

    My weekly thoughts can be found here, if you are interested:

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