Friday, November 9, 2012

You're fired!

The apprentice is back! At first I thought the search for a young apprentice will be slightly less however, it’s proving to be very interesting and quite an experience watching these kids at work. On a one hand, you can easily forget they are only 16&17 years old on the other hand, its quite sad in my view seeing them completely missing out on being teens and enjoying teen stuff. There doesn’t seem to be a balance and though I can fully relate to their passion for business, you will only be young once.. 11 youngsters are looking to kick start their business careers and are showing a burning passion for success I haven’t even seen in adults! We have two teams Odyssey- started as the boys team and Platinum originally the girls team. This week was their second task and Sir Alan mixed them up a bit to make it more interesting.. The task was about publishing: The teams had to write, design, print and produce a cookery book and then pitch their concept to the UK top 3 retailers. Did you know that this is a 84 million pounds industry?! Each year over 2,000 new cook books are published. Looking around, it seems to be the thing to do, TV and books alike. You can’t escape cooking these days that's for sure... Odyssey chose Sean as their PM- He is only 16 and yet, he is the youngest published author in the UK (what?)! He has also won an award for his writings.. What were you writing about when you were 16? Hmmm.. Platinum chose Lucy as their PM. It was now time to choose a concept&target market, Odyssey choose the professional working woman. However, when they went to test their ideas on a focus group, the group hated the idea! They all thought they should aim at a wider audience and add the professional working man to the mix. When calling in to Sean with the results suggesting the change, Maria who came up with the idea threw a fit. It's times like these when you can see the actual age of these kids...She thought they need to stand out to the retailers and a niche market is the best way to do it, forgetting that when it comes to publishing, the broader the audience the better it is. She simply didn’t stop till Sean gave in and agreed not to change their concept. Platinum choose to cater to students! They had a fun and very modern concept- combining a hash tag into the title and connecting it all with Twitter and social media. This move was very fitting with their target audience. #Where’s mummy? The students have now left home for the first time, how can they survive with out home cooking? Time to cook! The sub teams now had to come up with three recipes for their book matching the concept. Odyssey’s sub team did a good job writing it all down, proofing the material, taking great photos and matching cover. Very time efficient Platinum however, had a power struggle going on so the girls as only girls can be..decided to turn against the PM and just sabotage her wasting valuable time- They came back with a long list of ingredients and that’s it! So before creating everything needed for the final production, recipes had to be written making them almost miss their deadline! Of course that also caused them to have no time for proof reading which later proved a big embarrassment to their team. Moving on to design, once again Maria was just running the show. The reason Sean was the Pm was his knowledge of the publishing industry but he couldn’t get an idea in. What an over barring, not as smart as she thinks girl! I’m betting she will not last long..They also forgot the most important thing: incorporating into the title the words cook book.. The other team focused on the design and it came out a big success! It was much like a comic book too bad it was full of spelling mistakes though. No one at the time thought to check or even noticed these errors. Though they were aware that the person writing has dyslexia and proof reading was a must! They unfortunately ran out of time because of their hen like bickering.. The big moment has arrived, time to pitch to the retailers. Odyssey chose a good team to lead the pitch and cook the food. It was going well but for some reason Sean decided that the last pitch will be delivered by Patrick, even though he didn’t prepare well for it and didn’t know what he was doing. Note to project managers: This is business not a talent show, letting people try out different aspects of the business in search of their strengths isn’t a good strategy. Platinum did a good job pitching though no one was impressed by the amateur spelling mistakes jumping out to everyone. The board room... The results were not surprising really, Odyssey received only one order of 800 units from all 3 retailors. For the simple reason they were aiming at a very small niche market, retailers are looking for something appealing to as big a group as possible. Platinum won with an order of 7,500 units from all retailors if promising to prove read this time..:) Since Sean let Maria push him around and effect his decision making, making it a recipe for disaster combined with him ignoring the focus group completely he paid the price by getting fired. Take a way: Don’t ignore your focus group listen to what your audience is telling you! It’s not just about your ideas, they also have to hold water in the real world! Don’t fix what’s not broken- If your pitch is going well don’t change that team at the very last minute for no reason! Be assertive! And remember, you simply cant please every member of your team all the time- this is a business! And then there were 10... Tune in next week for the next task when someone will get fired! Have a great weekend! www.fromadifferentangle.com

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