The Apprentice – Board Games (Episode 6)

Apprentice-blog-episode-6
Published November 13, 2014

This week saw Lord Sugar’s contestants designing, creating and selling a Board Game.

James and Pamela were the Project Managers, Pamela somewhat reluctantly.  Afterwards Pamela said that she took the role because it required ‘passion’, even though it was evident that it had been thrust upon her.  In relationship psychology, Duck (1992) suggests the final phase when a relationship ends is known as the ‘grave-digging phase’, where each partner makes a public version of events that does not jeopardise future relationships.  In this sense, Pamela creating her story about taking charge helps to protect her self-esteem.

The first stage in the process is to create an idea and present this to focus groups.  Pamela’s team were focusing on a game for adults.  The groups said that they were interested in sci-fi themed games and they did not like the team’s idea about a game based on relationships.  So what did Pamela decide?  She decided to go with the relationship game of course! Trouble continued to brew as the sub team proudly revealed their cover image for their aptly named board game, ‘The Relationship Guru’. In true apprentice fashion this simply wasn’t good enough for Pamela and her team – a divide amongst sub teams?! Who’d have thought it!

James’ team’s opted to design a fun yet intellectually challenging geography game aimed at children, which they named ‘GeoKnow’. Without any surprises James flourished in the role of bumbling dictator.  We have seen this series as in others that the Project Manager must be decisive; however James took this to a level where he antagonised his fellow team members and simply did not demonstrate effective listening.  The Project Manager, like leaders in all organisations, has to finely balance meeting the needs of their team and the needs of the organisation – in this case, Lord Sugar.

Once designed, the Relationship Guru received feedback that the game was “sexist and subjective”, this of course caused a great deal of issue when attempting to flog it!  However Mark positioned the game as fun and easy to play (avoiding the sexism element of the game), and managed to sell a number of units.

Exclusivity became a problem for James’ team after Bianca, faced with the pressure to achieve a sale, made an error and offered exclusivity to a Westminster store for just 6 units!  This was a great demonstration of how managing emotions and behaviour under pressure is vital for today’s leaders.  In the end this did not matter as the game was a hit with the retailers and they won by a country mile.

So, who was fired?

In the Boardroom, Dan was branded a ‘fantasist’ and ‘delusional’ by Lord Sugar, whilst Mark was accused of not stepping up for volunteering Pamela as the Project Manager.  Pamela brought Dan (who she described as “aggressive and obstructive”) and Lauren (for “sitting on the fence”) back in to the Boardroom with her to slang it out.   Lord Sugar couldn’t see Lauren’s entrepreneurial spirit but in the end it was Pamela’s decision around the game concept that saw her become the latest victim of the Boardroom.

Leaders in today’s business environment need to be willing to listen to feedback from their peers and customers and translate these in to actions.  They require the ability to work in a complex, fast-paced and pressured world and yet display incisive judgement and integrity.  a&dc’s LIVED leadership assessment and development solution provides a platform to identify and develop this exact type of talent – the type of talent to lead organisations in our ever-changing and demanding world.

Author: Kay Lucker

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