The Apprentice – Week Six: Bruges Tour
Lord Sugar dispatches the candidates to Bruges where they’re tasked with creating a high-quality tour of the city for cruise ship passengers.
Project management styles
Sarah-Jayne and Elizabeth took very different approaches to the tour of Bruges. Team Vitality went for a horse drawn, historical tour while Elizabeth’s Team Graphene added a more modern, Segway-based twist. The two women also had radically different styles as project managers.
Elizabeth takes charge…
Planning and organisation
This task was all about planning and organization. It all began to fall apart for Sarah-Jayne with her poor allocation of key roles, in particular appointing Anisa as head tour guide supported by Charles on logistics. Karen Brady described the result as the city tour from hell. Harsh but fair Karen.
Claude wasn’t much more complimentary about Elizabeth’s leadership style, comparing her to a headmistress on a school trip. There were certainly some cringe worthy moments when she decided to take personal charge of the Segway tour – “to infinity and beyond!” – but there was no doubting who was in charge.
Anisa and Charles lost in Bruges…
Get the basics right
Throughout the task Elizabeth’s planning, organization and control were spot on, if a little heavy handed. Most importantly, by getting the basics right she opened up some opportunities for other members of the team to be creative. Despite being up against a team delivering the most inept of city tours, Team Graphene’s margin of victory wasn’t huge. The key factors that separated the teams was the decision to negotiate a commission on sales at the chocolate shop and their choice of upmarket souvenirs while the other team haggled for cheap keyrings.
Elizabeth did what a good project manager should do: plan, delegate effectively and keep things on track. It’s all about providing a solid framework that allows innovation and creativity. If only she’d handed the front of house duties over to one of the more charismatic members of her team her performance would have been perfect. Step forward Harrison, who I think would have done a better job with that megaphone.
Harrison itching to get his hands on the megaphone…
In the boardroom Sarah-Jayne didn’t put up much of a fight and it looked as though Lord Sugar was set on at least a double firing. Andrew’s laddish approach to the task had clearly irritated Karen and when Lord Sugar asked that most direct of questions, “You tell me, young man, why should you stay in this process?”, it looked as though his time was up. His response was one of the best one liners I’ve heard on the show. Instead of the usual bluster he just said, “Lord Sugar I’m gonna bleed crimson…” What an excellent response young man.