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Lesson 7: FOCUS, FOLLOW THROUGH... AND FINISH!
A Blog Posting for Trump University/ NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

Monday, April 13 2009, 8:14 am Eastern

This week's task - The teams created store displays for LifeLock. Two LifeLock executives picked the winning display based on its brand messaging, originality and overall design.

Team membership this week - KOTU had Clint, Herschel, Joan and Natalie. Athena had Annie, Brande, Brian, Jesse and Melissa

Who were the project managers? - Natalie led KOTU and Brian led Athena.

Who won? - KOTU was named the winner and Natalie received $20,000 for her charity, Boys and Girls Club.

Who got fired? - Brian McKnight.

This week's episode showed that winners always focus, follow through and finish. Here are some lessons worth learning.

* * *

Lesson One: Focus on the Right Things

The LifeLock executives said they wanted displays with strong brand messaging, good designs... and originality. Yet Brian and his team based their display on LifeLock's current marketing campaign, which shows LifeLock CEO Todd Davis displaying his Social Security Number for everyone to see. And because that display was not original, Brian and his team lost this week's task.

So focus on the right things before start to work on any assignment. If you pursue the wrong goals, all the hard work in the world will not bring you success.

Lesson Two: Put Your Effort Where It Counts

Both teams worked hard to create clever presentations for the LifeLock executives. That was misdirected effort, because the winner would be chosen because of its display, not because of its presentation. It would have been better for the teams to skip the hype and discuss how their displays met LifeLock's specific marketing objectives.

So remember to focus and put your effort where it counts.

Lesson Three: Sweat the Small Stuff

Both team managers got off to a good start by delegating specific tasks to the members of their teams. But then Brian made a critical mistake. He sat back, relaxed, and assumed that everyone was taking care of the details. They weren't! In fact, the carpenters assigned to build the team's display were sitting around in Brooklyn with nothing to do, because the team had not gotten the design to them.

So if you are the leader, never assume that people are doing what they need to do. Your job as a leader is to ride herd on every detail – even if people think you are a pain.

Lesson Four: Pick Yourself Up and Get Going

Jesse was suffering from stomach flu this week. On the way to the carpenters' shop in Brooklyn, he actually got out of the team's van and went into a portable toilet to throw up. But when he came out, he gave Natalie two thumbs up – and kept on working hard, despite repeated stomach upsets. Compare his performance to the one we saw from Dennis Rodman, who hid in his hotel room with a hangover.

So don't hide behind excuses. You need to overcome obstacles in your drive to the finish line.

Lesson Five: Use a Safety Net

Brian and his team had problems delivering their graphics to Brooklyn. The emails they sent had attachments that would not open, images were missing – and lots more went wrong. So at the last minute, Brian and his team had to race to Brooklyn to make sure that all the visuals were in place. Before he was fired, Brian explained, "We ran out of time. We just barely finished the packages. We decided to go to Brooklyn..."

So never rely 100% on technology, because things go wrong. Hard drives crash. Power outages occur. The graphic you send at the last moment could be in a format that the recipient can't use.

If something can go wrong, it usually will – especially at the last minute. So think ahead and don't let it happen to you. Back everything up. If you are sending graphics or other files, forward them in several formats to boost the chances that they can be opened by the receiver. Send your files to multiple email addresses, not just one – and if possible, also deliver them via a CD, a cruiser drive, or bring your whole laptop along. Demanding people like Donald Trump don't want excuses. They want results.

Lesson Six: Don't Be a Quitter

In the boardroom, Mr. Trump observed that Brian had lost his competitive drive. And incredibly, Brian agreed. He actually said that he would be happy to leave the show and get on with his own life. Compare that to Natalie, who told Mr. Trump last week, "I gave you my word that I would do this."

So never quit. When you see the finish line getting closer, rev up your competitive drive and start the game all over again.


* * *

What will happen next week? After Brian got fired, Mr. Trump immediately kicked off next week's assignment: an upscale auction of jewelry from Ivanka Trump's boutique. Sparks are already flying between Melissa and Annie, and Joan is in battle mode. And to further heat things up, Celebrity Apprentice winner Piers Morgan will be on the scene! It will be a heck of a week, with lots to learn. See you there!

* * *

To see the original blog posting click here.

 

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