Wow! Another season of The Apprentice is already here. I am so excited to have the opportunity to join my father and brothers in the boardroom! I hope that you’ll join me each week as we watch a new set of contestants compete for a position at The Trump Organization.
This season of The Apprentice is an important one, as it truly highlights what many people are currently going through in their daily lives – the search for employment in very difficult times. I think that it will resonate with many of you. We met a large number of truly exceptional people with fantastic educations, brilliant career promise, and incomparable resolve. I have a feeling that this season will hit home like no other. Now….on to my thoughts about the premiere episode:
Battle of The Sexes
We started with the usual sixteen candidates, eight men and eight women. As with the last Celebrity Apprentice, my father divided the two teams by gender – pitting men vs. women. The battle of the sexes is always a great way to kick off the season! The women named their team Fortitude and the men named theirs Octane. As you may have noticed in the premiere, we have the full gamut of personalities and backgrounds on each team, and the candidates as a whole are definitely a fusion of fortitude and high octane. That’s why they were picked for the show, and you can expect a showdown on every episode.
The first task was one that I’ve done myself at The Trump Organization – designing an ultra-modern office space. These spaces were across from our commercial office property at 40 Wall Street. My brothers and I have spearheaded the design of many buildings, so we know how difficult it is to create an office space that represents each of your clients’ company cultures. The teams were expected to demonstrate their ability in execution, functionality and originality. In a move that I always find bold and courageous (albeit perhaps less strategic), Nicole volunteered to be the Project Manager for Fortitude. Unfortunately, by the end of the task, I saw that she demonstrated the strength to step up, but not the leadership skills to captain her team. Overall, Nicole’s most significant mistake was that she failed to delegate properly—she would respond to questions with “you decide” instead of being decisive herself. While I think that it was important to allow her teammates their freedom and opinions, it was not a good leadership tactic to allow them unfettered reign. If you are the Project Manager, the final decisions should be yours, and the success of the task is ultimately on you. She should have made sure she was clear and comfortable with ALL decisions that were being made.
Gene was the Project Manager for Octane, being volunteered by his team, which was hoping that as a former military man, he would lead them through the battlefield that is The Apprentice! At first, Gene seemed like a weak link from a design perspective…but I thought that he made a very intelligent decision to “go green.” The men, however, moved to rocky territory after that. I wasn’t surprised to watch tensions rising as Gene and his teammate David clashed – they have such different management styles. That said, I was a bit shocked by Gene’s aggressive criticism of James’ artwork. I thought they were really heading in the wrong direction, but by the end of the task they rallied and came up with a design that I thought could be the winner.
The First Fire
Don, my father and I knew that the first decision was a big one. In the boardroom, certain things were made clear: Nicole was ineffective as Project Manager, and Fortitude’s product showed a lack of cohesion. None of us thought it was great. Gene’s group came up with a design that was definitely better, but the team lost points because their carpet was not properly secured to the floor – a dangerous element in any office environment and really a stupid, but serious, mistake (evidenced by multiple slips during the presentation). In the end, we chose Octane’s product – it was clearly more “on task” – giving the men their first victory.
On to the “first fire” – I have to say that Nicole sealed her own fate. Her “back talk” to my father, in combination with her mediocre job as both a Project Manager and team player, led to her termination. I thought it was the right decision, but I wish Nicole the best!
So…Octane won their first victory—but my father made it clear that he was not overly impressed with either team. Tune in for the next episode where I am sure Octane and Fortitude will try to make better impressions. Let’s see if they do.
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Enjoy your weekend, and I look forward to seeing you in the Boardroom next week!