The show we chose to watch was The Apprentice US, season 10 episode 1. There were two groups, split into men and women, and we chose to observe the men, namely Team Octane. The members were Alex, Annand, Stuart, Wade, Gene, James, Clint and David. The idea of the show is that each team is set a similar assignment, and the prevailing team wins, but one member of the losing team gets fired. Donald Trump, a successful American businessman, is chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization, renowned for being a real estate developer. He leads the show and the final winner will become his apprentice, earning a comfortable 6 figure salary of $250,000, so it is clear why all the team members are so motivated.
The two team’s assignment was to create an ultramodern work environment. Gene suggested that they incorporate a “green” aspect, with lots of earthy colours and plants, while keeping it modern, functional workspace. The place they were given was an empty building with no furniture, and were given the help of an architect to “visualise”their ideas. Each team was given 2 days to transform their abandoned workplaces, into a fully functional, pleasant work environments. Each team had to pick a project manager, which in the men’s case they elected Gene.
We all came to the agreement that all team members are motivated with a good educational background, they were all however at the time unemployed meaning that all team members, including the women’s team, where there to win it. They were all motivated as a team, however they each wanted to stand out from the group, perhaps so that if the team lost, no one would have to take the blame for the entire group.
Our individual observations, which we mostly agreed on, are as follows. David at the beginning of the show, wanted to be the leader, however the majority chose Gene, so he felt like he was missing out. This partially exaplins his rash behaviour, as at one point he starts a fight with Clint. David tried to be the leader and wanted to tell Clint what to do, when it came to ordering plants, but Clint didn’t like being bossed around by someone who wasn’t the leader. David thinks he has more work experience then the rest of the group. On the second day, Gene gives a good pep-talk for the team members and said that everyone has to trust each other. David has a clash with Gene too. David is in our opinion not somebody you can work with in a team.
Our inital impressions of the team were that the men were very testosterone driven alpha-like males, who werent afraid to express their feelings about other members of the group. The Project Manager Gene, was something we initially disagreed on. The majority of us thought that Gene was a weak leader, because most of the group initially decided to just go and do their own thing, without listening to him, whereas one of us thought that for the first day, Gene could have done a lot worse. We all agree, however, that on the second day Gene pulled himself together as Project Leader, and performed a lot better. The second day was very manic as there was a lot to be done, but Gene managed to stay cool and handled the situation.
There were some examples of prejudice and stereotyping in the show, for example, the leader Gene was elected as Project Manager purely down to his age and his Military background. This was explained to us by one member, the stereotype being that if you are old and you have a past experience in the military, you have good leadership skills. Another example is that Clint was judging James on his current financial situation and his life crisis. James was unemployed which led to his family breaking up. Clint was saying that James was acting in a rather rude manner because of his personal problems. In the show there were no examples of discrimination, even though Gene was African-American.
One of the crew members slipped on the slippery stones on the floor. In the end David is proud of what Gene did as the project manager. Gene thinks David and James are the weakest of the team. James does not agree with this and the girl in the jury doesn’t as well. She thinks he showed himself as a leader when she showed up. A lot of conflicts were between David and Clint in Gene’s opinion.
Their one strength was also their weakness. They were all very motivated however occasionally they forgot to remain motivated as a team, and wanted to achieve by themselves. Combined with that, a weakness was their lack of clear communication, meaning 2 people would clash as they were both set the same task of ordering plants for the office. Also a miscommunication was how specific certain tasks needed to be. For example, one member was set a simple task of painting a decoration of arrows and lines, but what was intended to be only a 30 min task, took most of the day. This meant that the leader Gene, was down one man meaning the rest of the team had to work harder, when already under time pressure.
If we had to improve a certain aspect of the team’s performance, it would be to get them to sit down and talk things through, just so that everyone has a specific task with clear goals, hence removing any miscommunications within the group. Also, perhaps something as simple as respect for fellow team members, as this was something that they lacked. This would mean that when there was a clash of interest, they would be able to step down, or be the bigger man, and just get on with the task at hand.
At the end of the episode, he was accompanied by two jury members to each of the workspaces, to get a feel for each teams’ workspace. The next day, each team was called into Donald Trump’s office, where he evaluated each teams’ performance. He wasn’t happy about either office, however he and the jury members came to the decision that they mildly preferred the men’s workspace. The men’s team was congratulated, and sent home.