Celebrity Apprentice Task Number Eight:
ACTING UP WILL BRING YOU DOWN
A Blog Posting for Trump University/ NBC's Celebrity Apprentice
April 20 2009, 8:14 am Eastern
This week's task - The teams held an auction of jewelry from Ivanka Trump's boutique. The team that raised the most money from the auction would win
Team membership this week - KOTU had Clint, Herschel, Joan and Natalie. Athena had Annie, Brande, Jesse and Melissa. They were the season's final eight contestants!
Who were the project managers? - Joan led KOTU and Annie led Athena.
Who won? - Athena raised $153,000 and beat KOTU, which raised $92,000. Annie got to give a check for $245,000 to her charity, Refugees International. It was the biggest check ever written in the history of The Apprentice!
Who got fired? - Natalie.
This week's episode exposed the dangers of acting unprofessionally in business. The way you behave can determine your success, as the following lessons show.
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Lesson One: Don't Flirt with Disaster
Clint and Herschel flirted with the models they were interviewing for the jewelry/fashion show - and never asked them any questions. In contrast, the women from Athena screened the models carefully. Did they have pierced ears so they could wear earrings, for example? Did they have strong stage personalities that would hold the attention of the audience? When the auction took place, Athena's models really stood out and helped the team sell a lot more jewelry.
There will be times in business when you find people attractive. You can't avoid that - but you can avoid letting that attraction result in bad business decisions. Don't be like Clint and Herschel.
Lesson Two: Recognize the Lines You Cannot Cross
Joan Rivers engaged in behavior this week that would never be tolerated in business. She cried. She went on the warpath against anyone who offended her daughter Melissa. She cracked jokes to the auction audience about one model's possible eating disorder. But to top it all, she accused Annie of being as evil as "Hitler at Buchenwald." You cannot say things like that in the business world and expect to remain employed for very long.
There will be plenty of times in your career when you will get angry. But never forget appropriate norms of professional behavior. If you go too far, you will do more damage to yourself than to your enemies.
Lesson Three: Keep a Poker Face
Melissa rolled her eyes and complained loudly when her teammates Annie and Brande began to act like good friends. Melissa also whined that she was being shut out, underappreciated, and victimized by her team. If she had rolled all that negative energy into positive work, she would have come out looking a lot better.
There will be times when you will feel shut out of some inner circle at work. If that happens, focus on the excellence of your work. You are not in junior high school any more. Your feelings are no longer your top concern. It is time to get the job done.
Lesson Four: Break Out of Your Shell
KOTU had the misfortune of presenting their jewelry after Athena had sold $153,000 worth of jewelry - mostly thanks to Annie's high-energy auctioneering style. When Clint took the microphone and started KOTU's auction, his habitual laid-back personality fell completely flat and bidding died. Money started flowing in again only when Joan came out from backstage and starting cracking jokes.
Then later on in the boardroom, Mr. Trump asked Natalie why she had not called her well-heeled golf contacts and gotten them to bid. She answered apologetically, "I asked, and they didn't want to." That ho-hum response indicated that she had little drive to succeed - and she got fired.
So remember to step out of your comfort zone and ramp up your energy in high-stakes situations - even if you are playacting a little. If you don't position yourself to succeed, who will?
Lesson Five: Know When to Ignore People
Piers Morgan visited both teams in their early stages of planning and offered advice that could have pulled both teams away from their plans. To their credit, the teams listened politely to Piers - then ignored him. (This is not a negative comment about Piers, just an observation that his advice came after the teams had started to make important project plans.) Later in the boardroom, Piers asked Jesse why he had not done more to raise money from wealthy people he knew. It was a good question, but Jesse defused it by staring Piers down.
So remember that you don't have to take advice or criticism from everyone. Always listen - but have the guts to go your own way if you know you are on the right track.
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What will happen next week? With only seven contestants left, there will be nowhere to hide. Plus, the frictions between Joan and Annie, and Herschel and Clint, are sure to intensify. There will be lots to learn. See you there!
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