The Apprentice – The Country Show (Episode 8)

Apprentice blog episode 8
Published November 27, 2014

The Debacle of “Hot-Tub Man”

Following Lauren’s departure last week, we are down to the final 9 contestants. You may think that Lord Sugar has separated the wheat from the chaff at this stage of the game and that there is limited chance for comical errors. You would, of course be mistaken. This week’s episode brought lies, arguments and a landslide victory for one of the teams.

The challenge set for the teams this week seemed like a straight forward sales one. They were tasked to set up shop at the Royal Bath and West Show in Somerset where they had to choose one main product which was an already proven seller at the show and also introduce two new items to sell alongside it. Felipe put himself forward as project manager for Tenacity, while James stepped up to the mark for Summit.

For Tenacity, Felipe and Mark stayed in London to decide on the two new items to sell while Katie and Daniel headed west to Somerset to choose the main product. It quickly became confusing as to who the actual Project Manager was, with Katie having to step in with advice for Felipe after he and Mark failed to consider the need to negotiate a lower selling price with the supplier of their chosen items. She again stepped up to the plate with some advice for Daniel after he went into complete overdrive while talking to suppliers at the show. His buzzword of the day was “passion” and he flung it around in a completely passionless and inauthentic manner. This was greeted with some epic dead-pan reactions of people who were wondering who this man was and whose idea it was to let him out of London for the day. Katie managed to pick up the pieces, by explaining to Daniel the importance of understanding who they were pitching to and what sort of approach they needed to take, showing a good understanding of the importance of Emotions when it comes to influencing others.

For Team Summit, Bianca, Sanjay and Solomon stayed in London to select the two new items. Thankfully, these guys remembered to negotiate a lower retail price with the suppliers. However, they may as well not have bothered as James steamrolled their decision by instructing them to go with two different items based on the descriptions he had read and his “gut sense”. Not only was this a waste of three of his team members’ time but it showed his complete lack of insight into how frustrating they  would find this decision as he didn’t provide any clear reasoning behind it.

James’s inability to listen once again came to a head in one of my favourite moments of The Apprentice to date when the hot-tub supplier opted for Katie and Daniel partly because James had called him Derek twice when his name was actually Anthony. James has shown a consistent inability or unwillingness to listen throughout the whole competition. This particular faux-pas really highlighted that weakness. His decision to hide what happened from the rest of the team made a bad situation even worse. When Roisin questioned his decision to do this, his  response was “it’s important what I wanna do, innit”, evidently placing himself before the team and  showing questionable Values by shirking away from holding his hands up to his own mistake. His excuse that he didn’t want to affect the morale of the team was flimsy as he had no qualms about putting a dint in the morale of the team earlier in the day by overruling their decision. Something, he showed again later on in the episode when he inexplicably lost his temper with Roisin after she made a sale, leaving her looking as if the last drop of morale was draining away.

Back on Team Tenacity, Felipe entered a showdown with Daniel after announcing that Mark and Katie would be selling the hot-tubs for the day while Daniel would be selling the “quirky” flat-cap handbags.  The pair continued to bicker for the day much to the amusement of the locals (and a random sheep), and threw any semblance of professionalism they once had to the wind. Thankfully, Mark and “Voice of Reason” Katie were in control of the hot-tub selling. When a customer announced that he was going to buy seven hot-tubs, Mark momentarily stopped breathing and it was evident that victory was sealed for Tenacity.

So, who got fired?

In the boardroom, Daniel highlighted his phobia of Learning by trying, once again, to claim something as his own by saying that he had recognised that he needed to change his approach in speaking to suppliers when, in reality, he was clueless until Katie pointed it out to him.  He has been called out on numerous occasions now for doing this but the message does not appear to be sinking in for him. Unless he can drop the act, I would imagine that he won’t have much longer left in the competition.  On Team Summit, James’s little “omission” came to light and his team seemed more perplexed than angry as to why he hadn’t told them about the “Hot-Tub Man” incident. At the end of it all, Team Tenacity romped to a landslide victory with sales of over £30k, in comparison to Summit’s more reserved sales of under £5k. Daniel looked like he might cry even though he was on the winning team, clearly still in a strop over Felipe’s decision not to let him sell the hot-tubs.

James rightly decided to bring Sanjay back to the boardroom as his sales were the lowest and he didn’t seem to have any real impact on the task. However, his choice to bring Roisin back was questionable and not well thought out as she proceeded to slay him with her newly found voice. Everything she said held water as she highlighted that he had shown no ability to manage the team effectively. James’s stint as the court jester had come to an end with Lord Sugar letting him go with a tear in his eye (almost) and some encouraging words. There’s no denying that James possessed Drive in abundance, he knew what he wanted and he wasn’t afraid to go after it. However, he didn’t show any real capacity for Learning, not taking the time to listen to others or take on board the useful feedback they had to offer.  His Values and understanding of team dynamics were also called into question with this final task as he wasn’t upfront with his team members and left them confused, frustrated and unmotivated. While he was entertaining to watch, he wasn’t yet the well-rounded leader that Lord Sugar was looking for.

Looking forward to next week’s task, it looks like Sanjay and Daniel are hanging on by a thread while Roisin and Katie are gaining momentum with the final almost in sight.

Author: Mary Mescal

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