The Sales Apprentice 2011: Sales Training & Business Development Tips From The Hit TV Show, Week 9

And for those who have been following  my Sales Apprentice for a few years you know that there’s always a week during the show when I am travelling in the evening and cannot get this done on time. Last year, my good friend Andy Smith guest stepped into the breach and wrote a superb piece but this year he has just moved to France so…

If you watch the Apprentice and you have thoughts, comments or advice from last night’s show then please have your say and I will use them here in a “mash up” of your comments. I’ll add mine when I’ve watched it. You can either email me, use the contact form or comment as usual below. Here’s the first one…

Damn! I was looking forward to your views + stayed up late!

I think SirAlan (prefer that) was unfair in his treatment of Tom tonight, as Tom created his biscuit in ignorance of the decision (what decision???) to create an upmarket product.   Once again, Melody was argumentative – she’s clever, but sly, manipulative and self centered!

There’s definitely a lesson in the necessity to marry up the product appropriately with the packaging + promotion etc.  The concept of snap + share was a cracker + perhaps should have carried the day!

Mark, Blue Sky Resorts


Hi Gavin

Last night’s Apprentice

A great example of how a lack of leadership often results in diminished productivity.
A great leader listens intently to his colleagues and advisors takes on their opinions considers, then makes a decision and sees it through.

The leader should not be led but lead, always with the belief that the decision is the right one. Last night was a great example of a leader being led the results were zero sales. Had she been a good leader, considered her own thoughts and the thoughts of those around her she may have had different results.

Confidence in your experience and wisdom gained from those around you will often get the right results when applied by a good leader.

Michael Rhodes, Danbro



The signs that the Cookie was going to crumble……….

Watching last night’s Apprentice made me think more than ever about how clever the programme is in terms of captivating viewers and how watching the human goldfish in this Aprentice bowl can teach you many lessons about managing yourself and others…….  The challenge in itself seemed straight forward – make and sell biscuits!  The lesson in life was how  little niggling signs of conflict, if not effectively handled, can escalate  resulting in the final crumb for Zoe.

There is vast but subtle difference between outright unhealthy conflict,  and a “Healthy challenge”. Watching high performing teams in action there is plenty of the latter – but  it is focussed on the outcome achievement of the task as opposed to under-mining others to gain a competitive stance!  The antics seen last night, resulted in the Wagon wheels falling off for Zoe; but also made Melody’s future wafer thin as she certainly didn’t show herself in a good light.

We’ve seen it coming – there have been the digs behind each other’s backs – quietly at first and then more boldly for the camera. The sugar coated sarcasm and divide and rule tactics of Zoe’s leadership really took the biscuit as she managed to divide the team in 2.  Their open spats on the shop floor before the pitch  were “Rich” (tea) and hard to digest (ive) .  In a non-competitive,  off screen environment, I dare say these niggles would have carried on subversively behind the scenes.  What was clear was that neither girl had the skills to diffuse the situation in a way that would result in a conducive working environment.

We often talk about how true assertion allows you to manage yourself and others effectively whilst providing the clarity and direction needed to achieve in a business setting. Aaah common sense, not common practice!  The girls brought passive aggression to the board room for their final bout and the body language really took the biscuit….

What can we learn? Managing conflict is an essential skill the greatest leaders do very effectively and should be a necessary part of building effective teams in organisations. Check out courses on my website – for ideas!

Meanwhile as for Jim, the Jammy Dodger – its only a while before he finds himself well and truly dunked head first in Sir Alan’s tea!  He’s playing a clever game – but how long before his self promotion at the expense of others comes back to haunt him?

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