This week it was the buying task. One whole day to buy 10 items. What could be easier? A walk in the park, I hear you say. Well this is The Apprentice and it's a whole different ball game when you're in it to when you're watching it in your living room.
The main difficulty in this task is the time pressure. As soon as you know you are under the cosh, the stress levels rise immediately. Add to this, the lack of London knowledge, a whole book of rules and a team of people that shout louder than passing juggernauts, and it makes the whole thing a lot more stretching!!
I was PM on this task and I did a lot of things wrong including - as Gavin did - spending a lot of time in the planning phase. We got stuck in traffic, we got held up at shops and got turned away by people who didn't want to be seen on TV.
The negotiation is also massively hard because everyone's watching, the clock is ticking and you've got a camera shoved in your face.
Another one of the boys who got axed this week. Project Manager Gavin was fired because he carried the blame for the failure of the whole task. His team only managed to source six items out of 10. Who knows how many of the other members of the team wanted him to fail and didn't pull their weight fully but it was Gavin who bore the brunt of Lord Sugar's wrath.
I share his disappointment because he lost by only £8, a similar margin to the one which I lost by. When you go back in that boardroom as a losing team leader it's devastating. Your head's on the floor. It makes it even more stressful going to bed knowing that you have to face the boardroom the next day. It gives you time to prepare your arguments but then it gives everyone else time to prepare too.
This is what made me think that business is won and lost by very slim margins. The test of a good business owner is the one who goes the extra mile, the ones who keep going when everyone else stops. It's the edge that you give your clients or the hours that you stay awake working while everyone else is sleeping.
They accused Gavin of looking beat towards the end of the day. It's always the last few steps that are the hardest to climb. If you are in the thick of it today just keep climbing because the view from the top make every step worth it.
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