The Apprentice – Advertising in New York (Episode 7)

Apprentice-blog
Published November 20, 2014

The Ego has not landed

Week seven was where the remaining contestants take on the annual task of producing a product and then marketing it. Some were fortunate enough to be in the part of the team that took off to New York for 4 days. A ploy built in to the task well by the production team as it was a good test of team cohesion. Indeed, team Summit managed to display that it is not quite at the 4th stage of the Tuckman model (performing) as it was clear there were tensions between Project Manager Bianca and Sanjay, with Bianca suggesting that Sanjay was being negative on 3 occasions. However, they did manage to win the task, but it was mainly due to the fact that the other product was just worse.

This highlighting of negativity in itself seemed to be a little odd as it also displayed that the team was not communicating effectively, neither did it show that Bianca was in any mood to listen to feedback and learn from that. Learning is something that we at a&dc uniquely recognise and measure as one of the essential elements of future successful leaders, and forms part of our LIVED leadership model. Lack of learning was also displayed by both teams in the production of the TV advert they had to produce. This has huge overlaps with the task from a few weeks back when they had to produce visual media for their You Tube channel. Feedback that was provided in that task around suitability and engagement with the audience would have been very useful this week, but no reference was made to drawing on past experiences.

One of the most striking psychological aspects from the show for me was Daniel’s inability to show that he has his Ego fully functioning. The Ego is a part of the psychic apparatus that is made up of the ID, your basic instinctual impulses and inner desires, the Superego, your internal policing system that seeks to ensure that we live by the rules and regulations that society has imposed upon us and the Ego, which looks to mediate between the ID and the Superego. In the case of Daniel last night, his Ego failed to land. This resulted in his ID being able to show itself a little more than was needed. Of course with Daniel, this is not a new feature. He has displayed basic needs outbursts in the past and been warned of them, but his Ego has failed to heed these and mediate his internal mechanisms sufficiently.

Early on last night we saw him attempting to give himself some self-gratification by suggesting that his branding was great and that Lauren was ‘doing nothing’. Further displays of defence mechanisms were evident such as projection (saying Lauren is not a pitcher, when he has shown in the past that he is not much good at it either), fantasy (saying the brand was great) and denial (not believing Lord Sugar when he was told that the brand was bland, and let us not forget his statement from last week that he is complete in business – didn’t we see a similar character a few years back by the name of Stuart Baggs?). Arguably, all of these are put into action by Daniel to protect his self-esteem.

Houston, we have a problem

This is an aspect of Daniel’s make up that he needs to work on. He is in a process where some of the less capable candidates have been eliminated and he may well be starting to think that he has found his level, and we are only half way through the process. Throwing allegations around about other candidates’ perceived gaps is a way of deflecting the inner discomfort that he may be feeling about his own potential. He is displaying signs of self-esteem maintenance at the moment.

It will be interesting to see over the coming weeks how Daniel adapts his style. If he does not, he may well not make it through to the end game. He would do well to take a good look inside and start being more authentic. When he is true to himself, he is more likely to be a better candidate, outstanding for the right reasons.

    Read more in Leadership & Management Development (LIVED)