Friday, November 16, 2012

The apprentice- At the opera!

Week 3- Creating win- win negotiations! This week’s task was about the art of negotiation. The candidates did manage to get some of the prices down however, there were no real skills involved. When the shop owners refused to give a discount, they were lost..then again, they are only 16! True, you can have business intelligence and ambitions at a young age. When examining the actual business skills at that age however, we find out that there has to be more to it then that. They need to study, personality refinement not to mention maturity and guidance through work. I would add that they need to get off the horse as we say in Israel! They may be a young successes but they don’t know it all and they are not that good, yet. It seems that when they were not sure of themselves or felt out of their depth, they just get aggressive as if this will make it invisible to the rest. This week the teams were mixed so we are no longer playing boys against girls. They were given a list of 10 items they had to find and purchase for the best possible price, bringing them to the Opera house where they will be used as props in a later production. Platinum chose Steve as their PM since he has structure and will bring order to the table hmmm...they were in for a surprised..Odessey choose Andrew. Both teams chose totally different strategies. Steve gave each member two items to research though they didn't realize this division or what their individual items were. Everyone was looking for locations to buy from for items at random. After a short while Steve thought they would be better off researching from the road so they split into two teams and off they went. Andrew thought they should stay put, find all the locations of purchase first and only then get going..Patrick was the only pointing out that since they don’t know London, they should find out on the map first where each group should go to depending on the items they were going to buy. While on the road, they did compare prices first before purchasing which sounds good basic business sense however for Platinum, it was simply get the cheapest price possible. They never thought about having a basic figure in mind to aim for. It’s not just about bringing a price down especially if its too high to begin with. Both teams in spite of their different approaches were only able to get 5 items out of the ten they were given. In the board room, Lord Sugar was not not too impressed...There were also two items the candidates didn’t even know what they were.. In spite of their huge waste of time and no one really having a proper responsibility, Odessey won the task by less then 30 pounds and a whole lot of luck.. Platinum lost mostly because they had bad management through out. The PM didn't have any indication of what was going on, he didn’t follow up with the proper questions and missed out on two basic items he had addresses for already. He chose to find new locations that didn’t work out. Amy was loud, aggressive and childish through out and that didn’t appeal to Lord Sugar, she was fired and rightly so. David broke an all time record I believe- third time in the board room and yet he was not fired! Take away: Know your prices! Bringing the price down is good but it’s not the same as getting a good price! When you manage a team, be clear about your division of the task at hand and what you expect from them. Make a clear plan to action and if you have a sub team, you need to follow up properly! Don’t ask is everything okay for example if the task is selling! Ask straight up- how much have you sold? If there are problems or changes you should make, this will the way to find out. And then there were 9! Tune in next week for the afternoon tea challenge. Have a good weekend! Diti.

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