Thursday, April 21, 2005

The End of a Nice Guy

Bren is a nice guy. He doesn't openly attack others. He's funny and easy to get along with, but he doesn't have the hunger and drive to be the Apprentice. That's what the latest episode revealed. So what is Bren? He's a blend of Aqua and Yellow. The Aqua seems to be his primary DNA color because even when attacked in the boardroom, he didn't lash back. For Aquas, that goes against their nature--being openly unkind. It's easier for him to make critical comments one on one with the camera when he was being interviewed during each of the episodes. But I wander if they really had to get him to be more critical just to liven up the program.

His copy last week for the Pontiac assignment was neutral and factual. It had no pizzazz. He was not passionate and intense. He went with the flow and offered some hard work. He did what he was asked and he took on the Project Manager role once at most. He just made sure he did his part. His approach kept him from being controversial with his team and so he lasted a long time. He didn't think calling people from the Yellow Pages was a good idea but he didn't voice his objection. He just went with it.

Bren is not a Red and the world of the Apprentice requires a lot of Red energy.

Alex, on the other hand, is Blue. He's emotional; he didn't want to say goodbye to Bren. But he is competitive and that intensity to compete kept him alive another week. That passion and intensity showed in the boardroom. Alex however didn't learn from his success with the Harlem project where he spent so much time talking to the customers to see what kind of mural would draw the residents to want to buy the video game. He hasn't had good judgment because his fear of making mistakes impedes clarity of thought. It made no sense for them not to meet with the people who would be judging them. That is where you get the winning ideas because these people will buy into products that incorporate their input. Magma won with that approach. So even though Alex has a lot of passion to win, it's from a Blue perspective.

The Magma team is filled with Reds. Tana has the Red DNA but her secondary DNA of Yellow softens the otherwise hard edges. She uses humor to lighten up the situation. Craig is intense Red. He challenges Kendra's authority and speaks down to her because he is convinced she's not at his level. You would have thought it changed after Kendra saved them with an outstanding brochure for the new Pontiac but she still hasn't earned his respect. Craig thinks he is a cut above because of his business experience. Kendra is also Red though not as intense. Kendra held back from taking charge during the first several weeks of the competition but when she did take charge, she has won. It's not because of her great team building skills, but because of her determination. She seems just as headstrong as Tana and Craig, but maybe not as street savvy. With three Reds on the team, you're bound to have power struggles and here it centers on Craig and Kendra. They can't stand each other; neither seems to able to lighten it up or take it easy. Kendra will stay silent when Craig tells her what to do but she tells the interviewer that she plans on doing it her own way anyway. Craig, a week earlier, questioned Kendra's leadership style and abandoned her, but she did it anyway. Her creation of the marketing brochure alone showed she had the talent to excel.

What is disappointing about the conflict is that neither sees they have complimentary talents--Kendra is a great marketer and knows how to listen to the customer and Craig is excellent at designing products that work--the kid's storage box with Home Depot and the Staples Organizer. If each could let the other do those aspects where they shine, they could make a great team but neither seem to have those skills. Only Tana seems able to adapt to the other two with her Yellow secondary. Tana did, however, undermine her relationship with Kendra when she did nothing to create the brochure but suddenly seized the moment to make the presentation to the Pontiac people without being asked. It was pretty rude considering how she and Craig had given up on Kendra.

Angie was fired a couple of weeks ago. She had pretty good people skills but was indecisive when it counted. Angie seems Blue. She's too serious for a Yellow. She took on the "mother" role weeks earlier with Audrey. And she isn't easy going but more anxiety prone.

But what about Chris? Good question. He got canned last week. He is competitive. He was wimpy around John but collaborative with Alex and Bren. He doesn't hesitate to attack others in the boardroom in his zeal to be the Apprentice. There's no doubt he has some Red but he likes to be liked and he really liked being with his friends Alex and Bren during the week that he got fired. He wasn't great at making strategic decisions. He was somewhat of a ham in the Charity Celebrity Project, so he probably has some yellow. Chris is a tough one to pinpoint but seems blue with his leadership style, his need to be liked and his willingness to be dominated by John.

That's it for now.