Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Showdown

As predicted, Craig simply didn't have enough talent and leadership to make the cut. He lacked the depth despite his opinion that he was far better than Kendra. So it's down to Kendra and Tana and the project on which each is embarked becomes even more weighed down by bringing back some of the less talented teammates they had in weeks gone by. What was interesting to see was how evenly divided the CEOs were about Tana and Kendra. Those who favored Tana were impressed by her confidence and communication skills. They saw she could bring people together. Those who favored Kendra thought Tana a little weak because her past experience didn't show she could make it in the Big Apple and Kendra had the big city experience, smarts, savvy and confidence to meet that challenge. They really didn't focus on the people skills issue.

Given the project each was assigned and the old teammates weighing them down, who will win? It will be close. Kendra has major issues with Playstation being tossed down into an ugly basement venue and ready to pull its sponsorship. If she doesn't turn it around, she'll likely lose. I originally thought Kendra didn't have people skills that were stronger than Tana, but it appears her people skills were overshadowed by Tana's and Craig's unwillingness to follow. When it really counted, Kendra was able to get the most out of her team and it showed last episode when she completed the EA Fight Night promotion. She really did work with her people. She didn't demean them and they worked hard to help her. What was so interesting was how different Tana was in working with her team--openly criticizing and belittling them to Carolyn and others and in her on camera interviews. Chris worked hard to help her but was trashed and there was this ego of her being above them as the event ended and they left. You got no sense of her being appreciative of their efforts. Tana openly took credit for everything good and blamed others for any mistakes. She has the friendly smile but her warmth is less than skin deep. She's out for herself and herself only. She's got solid talent but her people skills are overshadowed by her ego skills.

Kendra seemed to have a major liability--Danny. She also has Erin, and the other male, whose name I forget. I really thought their collective skills were lacking given the first meeting I saw Danny handle, but they rose to the occasion apparently because Kendra really loved what they did and they loved her. She is tough but has the compassionate side that didn't come out.

I look back on how she handled the 16 weeks and it was masterful. She didn't take charge until late in the game, but when she did, she didn't repeat the mistakes of her predecessors; nor did she establish herself as domineering. She showed she could work for others before taking the lead herself. Great strategy because it probably endeared her more to those who were now working for her.


My prediction was Tana before the last episode but I saw her "true Red" come through and it was more negative than positive under the pressure cooker. I also saw Kendra shine where I thought she would falter. She showed me strengths that I didn't know she had. Kendra, not Tana, got the most from her team and it showed with how the event came across. George was scraping to find an area where he could criticize her and earlier in the show, he saw how impressed the sponsors were with Kendra.

Kendra, hands down, is the most qualified to be the apprentice and I think Trump sees it too.



Tuesday, May 03, 2005

And Then There Were Three

Well, it's down to three Reds. Alex, a competitive Blue, almost made it to the final three had he not blown it with his poor recollection of prior losses as a Project Manager. George and Carolyn were leaning his way, or better stated, against Tana.

What happened to Tana? The same problem as other Reds have encountered along the way. She fell so in love with her own idea and her prior experience selling studded T-shirts at the 2002 Winter Olympics that she lost sight of what got her team the wins week after week after week--marketing. Target your audience and go after them. Certainly it's great to be able to raise the price by $12 but she lost sight that the opportunity was to sell a limited edition T-shirt designed by a famous artist---COLLECTIBLE. Who would buy such collectibles regardless of the price--people who love the artist or appreciate the value of his work. It's funny that even Craig and Kendra didn't get the fact that people would have paid a lot more because it wasn't a T-shirt but a limited edition of a work of art. But they did get the idea that marketing was critical as it has been for most of the projects and that's where Kendra continues to shine and Craig continues to enjoy the fruits of her talent.

So where do we go from here. It's down to interviews and we have three Reds. Tana has some fire in her belly and she showed it when she was on the edge of being fired. She blew the last project and she really pulled a number back on the Pontiac project where she took over a presentation that she wasn't the leader on or even a prime contributor. All of the Trump execs know the particulars when they'll be interviewing her. Tana has shown leadership with her other businesses and gets along well with most people. She hasn't been a source of controversy among her fellow candidates. In this aspect, she may be the strongest of the three.

Craig is demeaning to Kendra and other women on Trump's team might not be too happy about it. This flaw as well as his lack of brilliance on most of the projects will likely lead to his demise. Craig hasn't been a strong leader. He has business savvy but based on the last half dozen projects that Net Worth won, he only shined on the one he led, Home Depot. His ideas and creativity haven't been stellar and he hasn't been a popular figure because he doesn't have enough Yellow or Aqua to soften the rough edges. He hasn't inspired the other contestants to follow him and so I don't think he will be hired.


What about Kendra? She has been bar none the best marketing talent of the group. She gets how to attract and build businesses but she hasn't been strong in inspiring her teammates to follow her lead much of the time. I believe she has only been Project Manager a couple of times--both wins and both with Craig kicking and screaming all along the way. Trump loves her talent but can she be a leader that inspires others or is she just a great talent to work on her own? That will be the challenge Kendra faces.

So who will win. Tana has the best people skills. People seemed to enjoy her leadership when she was in charge and she doesn't put off a lot of people. She is the smoothest in times of stress. She lost her last project for being very short sighted. That was a major negative mark against her and that probably doesn't have George or Carolyn on her side. But she probably has most of the other candidates wanting her or Kendra. Kendra didn't ruffle many feathers other than Craig and she has obviously the strongest marketing skill but not real strong leadership. I think Trump and his team will probably go for her anyway and put her in a position where she can rely on that talent. I pick Kendra with Tana a close second.