Apprentice 4: Found out

Some people were found out on this episode. The task of selecting innovative products and trying to flog them to hardnosed retail procurement people was a big ask. There was a reprise of episode two's chronic catfight over disputed order books. The sacking of the the atrociously bad Melissa was expected and overdue. Try as she might to convince us she was a "business person", she was indicative of that talent show chutzpah, that says "I can do anything even when she manifestly couldn’t". Her bread roll estimating error which will surely become a business school case study, was so bad she should have been "howked off" as we say in Scotland there and then. When she tried to convince Debenhams’s purchasing people, to stock lines completely against their business model, she refused to take no for a answer. Fold your arms in front of her, whistle, check your watch and she will still plough on like an atonal talent show singer blinkered by her own self-belief.

You can’t really do that in business because you will get found out and sometimes you will get fired. Some of the better contestants like Stellar Stella also showed that they had weakness. Stella’s decision on pricing disqualified an important sale as the bottom line obsessed Lord Sugar struck it out of the order book. Stella is not a talent show dupe and she will learn and come back stronger. Stuart "the brand" Baggs who I thought had turned a corner evidently hasn’t. His aggressive self belief as a salesman based on his cornering of the Isle of man playground Yoyo market, drove away a brilliant opportunity. He was more aggressive and dismissive towards the supplier of the baby grow than I am towards referees at Craven Cottage. The baby grow proved a winner to be for the other team, which was picked a sole supplier. Liz showed how to pitch a product and adjust your approach, she was the difference. Melissa who thinks she can pitch and really is just "annoying" caused the problems which brought them into the boardroom. Jamie the PM should should have told her she wasn’t that good as Simon Cowell does weekly and Stella did with the crushingly dull Chris. Mind you Chris’s whose delivery in a pitch was hilariously compared by Nick Hewer as "Monotone.. like a heavy bomber coming into land" has learned very little.

Sometimes when people are not as good at things as they think they are and it impacts a team, they have to be told. But it’s understandable people don’t do that when colleagues like Melissa take criticism as well as Bob Crow would the gift of life membership of the CBI. Then when she was finally fired her gracelessness under pressure was an example of how infantile and silly the talent show approach to setbacks can make people. No composure, no humility or reflection just a tantrum. Maybe it was her destiny to be a great pitcher and a great saleswoman. Maybe with some re-training (possibly by the Vietcong re-education unit) she could see the error of her ways but I doubt it. Sometimes people have to be told and sometime they just get found out and have to go.

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