The Apprentice - Episode 4

Published on 30 October 2014 at 12:09 pm #communicationskills #goodleadership #impactfactory #influencingskills #linemanagement #negotiationskills #presentationskills #projectmanagement

Two key things happened during last night's episode which are worthy of mention. Aside from my husband sitting through it with his hands over his eyes, saying, "You couldn't invent this!"

Obviously one of them was Lord Sugar firing three people in one go. That grabbed everyone's attention, including mine. I loved it to be frank and actually when the Boardroom spat descended into a major bun fight with accusations, name calling and no one having the ability to listen, I wondered if that might happen, because given that ridiculous behaviour, who would you want to keep??

The other key thing was Team Summit's excellent team spirit, the first I've witnessed so far. Although Team Tenacity's project manager Ella started her team meeting by identifying each person's strengths, she soon dropped the ball and her leadership fell apart; there was the usual eyeball rolling, grimacing and passing the buck, rather than attempting to resolve the difficulties. It was clear there were big differences of opinion about what their video channel offering was all about and Ella didn't seem capable of bringing those opinions together and sorting them out.

Whereas Solomon really did have a vision, took charge of seeing it through and brought his team along with him. The atmosphere he created was full of laughter, ideas were batted around and for once, egos seemed to be in check most of the time. Everyone was involved in achieving the end result and whatever the viewer may have thought about that end result, they as a team were in accord. That can make a huge difference in any project.

The content of each team's channel offering was pretty dire yet that's really beside the point. Team Summit didn't win the task because they produced a winning YouTube channel (and their winning margin was relatively small); they won because they paid attention to details such as ensuring they uploaded their material with a title and description, which Team Tenacity 'forgot' to do.

Team Summit's performance this week absolutely reflected what I wrote about Project Management two weeks ago and team working last week, which is why Solomon got his team's endorsement of his project management skills when they were in the Boardroom.

One thing I wanted to talk about here which reflects the success of Team Summit was the fact that when they presented their idea to Buzz Feed, they presented as a team. This is something we look at a lot at Impact Factory, both when we ourselves pitch and present and when we train others to pitch and present, ensuring that presenting as a team is smooth, seamless and like a well rehearsed choir - everyone in tune.

It is our experience that if more than one person goes to a pitch then every single person needs to have something to say during the presentation and not wait till the Q & A at the end. This way whoever is being pitched to gets to experience how well the pitch team works together, which in turn will be a reflection of what it would be like to work with said team.

By Team Tenacity fronting Steven as the only spokesperson, they shot themselves in the foot because there was no one to mitigate his in your face style by having an additional voice in the room. This isn't meant as a criticism of Steven's style per se (though I really did wish he would learn to zip his lip at appropriate times), rather it's meant to point out that when there is a dominant voice during a pitch, there needs to be a counter-weight so the client has a balanced pitch experience.

By the time Tenacity got to the Q& A they were chaotic and had no clear message because the team members weren't in agreement from the outset.

Presenting as a team can be exhilarating and akin to running the 100 metres four by four when it works well - the baton is passed smoothly and every person contributes equally based on their strengths.

Well, Lord Sugar said no more dead wood; we'll find out next week if the scare of this one has an impact.

Check out Impact Factory's range of Communication, Presentation and Project Management Skills Training.

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory