This years “The Apprentice” is slowly making progress along it normal route. A likely batch of applicants is currently trying to show how suited or not they might be as Lord Sugar’s latest protégée. There is little if any interest however in fallings out, relationships between applicants in a manner not usually mentioned within business skills tomes and general lunacy of the budding, thrusting and ever enthusiastic applicants, not!
I’ve covered this topic before and I’m returning to it because business and commerce is where I’ve worked since 1979. Business and commerce is important to me, not just because it has provided a roof over my head and enough money to avoid me starving for all of these years. Oh no, business provides the basic staple on which our society relies – wealth generation. (Yes I know some of it is out of control but the market will adjust at some point and it might not be pretty).
I also happen to enjoy business in its entirety with the only real negative being the politics that some people employ to reach their goals. Politics are generally destructive in business and commerce and in all other work related activities. Politics are indeed a complete waste of space and time unless you are a politician and even then it’s value is only within the bounds of your individual world.
In The Apprentice, the politics are one of the main features. The scurrying for position in the boardroom is pretty much political as is some of the performances during the tasks where some of the potential apprentices use it to their supposed benefit.
To be perfectly honest I’m not a fan of the programme at all. I think it gives business a bad name. It’s an entertainment programme after all and it is obviously edited to ensure it is entertaining. The personal statements of the potential apprentices are just plain silly. If I were a potential employer I’d ditch most of them as soon as they uttered any nonsense about being wonderful and having achieved huge success or always winning because they are just so truly and wonderfully good at what they do. Business is like everything else, it’s all about delivering success and the manner in which the success has been achieved and making a profit of course. It’s also about experience and most of the people on the show haven’t been in business long enough to know their neither regions from other parts of their anatomy.
The potential apprentices make a complete hash of it at times. Their basic business skills seem to desert them and it gets messy. But it is entertainment after all as I try to remind myself frequently as I watch it.
The potential apprentices are from varying backgrounds and market segments. There seems to have been an increase in the number of people who made it through to the TV part who have their own businesses. You would think that they would be in a better position to do a good job since they are running a business everyday of the week. Apparently not.
If you believe the Universities and some of the government sponsored bodies who know about such things, entrepreneurs can be grown through education. I’ve no doubt they can but it is an expensive and painful learning curve for anyone setting out in business without any real experience to rely on. Business MA graduates take two years to get up to speed after they’ve joined a business! Fact! They haven’t been taught the right things and they haven’t had to face up to risk assessment and decision making and how to tackle a competitor who is aggressive and speedily reducing the market for your products or services.
I’d go further and say that a Business MA should probably be treated in the same way that a surgeon is. It should take years to gain the skill and experience suitable to successfully manage a part of a business never mind the whole. Expecting and supporting people to set up and run their own business with no experience of the world of work or how businesses operate is asking for trouble, it’s painful and costly for them and sometimes for their families. associates and suppliers. Sure the Princes Young Business Trust and others do a good job but the pain is still there.
Working in a business and gaining experience in various departments is the best and safest way to do things. Learn at someone elses expense. Many careers stall when a successful person is promoted into a position, which is one step beyond what they are capable off.
There are exceptions like all things in life and to a degree Alan Sugar was one of them. He managed to build a large organisation and make a load of money with little education and skill. He managed it in the same way that athletes manage to win gold medals, footballers play for the biggest teams in the world and bands sell millions of records; he wanted it badly enough to ensure he succeeded.
Alan Sugar used to sit in his main office in an elevated position in the centre of it so he could see everyone and hear what they were doing. He was involved in all of the decision-making and he made sure it worked. If it didn’t then it was bollicking or worse P45 time.
He did succeed. He employed loads of people and he paid a large amount of taxes. More people like him now? I’m not sure about that one.
Other episodes –
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 4
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 5
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 6
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 7
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 8
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 9
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 10
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 11
BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 12