Donald Trump Is A Business Buffoon


On this week's episode of The Apprentice, Donald Trump, with his usual "listen to me speak because I don't give a sit what you say" style, fired home builder Bryce, pretty much the most level-headed, well-grounded apprentice in the bunch. His team lost a challenge in which they had to develop a jingle for Arby's new like or natural chicken sandwiches. While we're not so sure why that's such a differentiating factor since we've never met an unnatural chicken - except perhaps in a bucket of fried KFC, the Arby's execs wanted to drive home the point their chain is the only place to get natural chicken. I wonder if they's ever heard on Boston Market or any other restaurant that serves chicken. Now, if they mean organic, hormone-free chicken that isn't slammed against a wall to kill it like PETA so loves to show us in its videos, that might be something to hang the "only" strategy on.

The only reason we digress so much about the "only" natural chicken thing is because Bryce's team didn't mention that in their jingle. Leaving something like that out - whether it means anything or not - doesn't make a CMO very happy. It's no surprise Bryce's team lost. Whit is a surprise is how Bryce took a dysfunctional bunch of 20-somethings (except for Lenny) who were at each other throats last week and turned them into a functional business machine that worked together extremely well. One might think, loss aside, the team building management qualities Bryce displayed would be noticed by Trump but no. The boardroom turned into the usual scream fest with Trump bellowing out platitudes without listening to the details of the back story.

Bryce took Lenny and Lee into the boardroom with him because he basically had no other choice. He steadfastly stood behind the work the other teammates did even though the end product lost. He took Lenny in because Lenny claimed he had no idea what a jingle was and had difficulty crossing the Russian/American cultural barrier. He took Lee, who didn't even participate in the task because he was on a Jewish holiday, because he claimed he had no other choice as Trump said bring two back and he refused to make the other teammates fall guys.

You really had to see the episode to understand all the nuances that led to the difficult choice Bryce had to make in bringing Lenny and Lee into the Boardroom. Suffice to say, Bryce was a breath of fresh air. Fresh air the business world use a lot more of but Trump couldn't get past old school business-think and, rather than recognizing Bryce's team-building management skills, slammed Bryce for displaying what those of us outside the world of Trump call class.

Bryce had the last word though in the Taxi with the classic line, "It wouldn't hurt if Trump listened once in a while."

by Steve Hall    Apr- 4-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Television   

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I agree with you 100% on this. Trump was an even bigger ass than usual. And my friends and I at the bar were all commenting on the stupidity of the "natural chicken" line. It means NOTHING. And then having the client choose the winner was the coop de gras (bad pun intended). Any halfway experienced ad person could have told Bryce how to win that challenge with only the client judging: simply incorporate the entire "strategy" statement into the jingle. Didn't matter if the thing was any good or not; those moronic Arby's people would choose Vanilla Ice music if it parroted their company line.

Posted by: Bob on April 4, 2006 11:17 AM

The Apprentice is becoming a joke. If you contribute an idea, and it is not very good, you're fired. If you do not contribute, and fly under the radar, you're safe. The ability to build team and manage people is not even something Trump considers important. If this happened in a real world organisation, you would not have great leaders who built their organisations into great ones, learning from their mistakes. Sorry Trump, but it looks like you need a lesson in managing people and organisations.

Posted by: SC on April 4, 2006 11:24 AM

Excellent Recap.

Since Trump has started partnering with everyone from Crest to Arbys, he should consider calling the show "The Advertising Apprentice" or at least "The Marketing Apprentice". All the tasks are essentially the same and if you do not have advertising experience... why bother.

Selling Lemonade looks better all the time.

Posted by: Price on April 4, 2006 11:54 AM

Or renamed Americas Next Top Marketer, perhaps?

Posted by: T. McMillan on April 4, 2006 12:36 PM

Right now Project Managers are getting fired on the merits of who they bring back to the board room. Last night was joke, from the task to the decision. Natural Chicken, lol.

Posted by: Edgardo on April 4, 2006 2:10 PM

To the original person who submitted this post--you left out an important detail:

... Earlier in the show, Bryce showed up with his 'team' to the orginal client meeting with top Execs 25 minutes late. It may work in LA but not in NYC. He tried to brush over the faux pas with a "I didn't know what time our meeting was scheduled." This is basic project management 101.

Also, we must not forget the Apprentice is about people outshining others and removing the average Joe from the boardroom.

While, I'm not implying that Bryce is inferior -- his missed the key point of making nice with the client. (That's what business is about today).

Posted by: Holly on April 4, 2006 2:20 PM

I'm not "The Donald," but as a leadership student with a doctorate in the subject and half dozen books published in the arena, last nite's Apprentice is a demonstration of old school short-sightedness. Trump just let the best leader go and even my 16 year old, with whom I watch every Apprentic show, sees how Trump struck out last nite.

Posted by: Alan Nelson on April 4, 2006 2:22 PM

THANK YOU for calling attention to the original strategy. The whole time I was watching I was wondering who and why someone would want to hang their branding hat on the term "chicken naturals" (or even "natural chicken"). What kind of chicken is unnatural? Is McDonald's serving up rubber chickens? (Well, maybe.) In any case, the whole idea turned me off to fast food in general, Arby's being no exception.

That said, I thought the actual Arby's commercial with Joan Rivers was hilarious and brilliant.

Posted by: Lori on April 4, 2006 2:32 PM

Holly you have a point. There's really no excuse for being late but berating someone for being late though just wreak of old-school, power-plat, pompous CEO bullshit.

If the key point in business is still sucking the ass of those in power then Bryce and his boardroom questioning of current business practices and attitudes would be a welcome addition to the business world. He's pretty much the only apprentice in the history of the show whose stood his ground with Trump without turning into an impish yes man like Bill and Caroline and the rest of the wannabe contestants.

Posted by: Steve Hall on April 4, 2006 3:17 PM

Note that Trump has thrived in a very top-down business environment. I know lots of real estate people who are more or less the same (and not because they are consciously emulating Trump). They tend not to be team builders or team players, they tend not to fully analyze alternatives before making a decision (they trust their gut), and they tend to be both stubborn and impulsive.

Posted by: ronbo on April 4, 2006 4:07 PM

Last night's episode proved to us that Trump likes hearing his own voice more than anything. The show has gone completely downhill and it's showing us that integrity means absolutely nothing in Trump's biz world. We're no longer watching the show because now his super large ego which has always been evident has now started completely taking over the show and has lost its appeal with our family.

Posted by: Que Banh on April 4, 2006 6:19 PM

Maybe it's me, but how many freakin' tasks is Lee going to miss before the series is over? I mean really. Didn't he know that the episodes would be shot during the holidays? What if he missed every episode for holidays? Under Trump's logic, he can't be fired and becomes the Apprentice I guess.

Posted by: John on April 4, 2006 7:12 PM

This blog is great! I was totally upset at the result last night. I honestly thought Lenny gave up because he had no singing ability. Big Deal! At least get involved somehow! As for Lee, I acknowledge the Jewish holiday thing, but I think he used it as an escape. His team was doing horrible, and he had just came back from the boardroom previously. It's disgraceful to use your religion. I would have found a way to contribute either the day before or the day after the task was assigned.

Trump (and his staff, Carol & Bill) really botched this one, and couldn't see the forest for the trees. They were so determined to attack the task itself, they failed to examine what the tasks are supposed to display, which is leadership abilities & project management. They let a good guy in Bryce get away, and I'm sure there are some execs out there that know it. Expect to see Bryce somewhere else big real soon!

(Then I hope he tells Trump to stick it!)

Posted by: Stamm I Am on April 4, 2006 7:56 PM

Bryce fell on his sword for the team. Lenny should have gone, but Bryce did not emphasize that he turned a dysfunctional bunch into a team, and that he brought in the only two people who contributed nothing to the task.

Oh yeah. Does anyone believe that Donald has ever tasted Arby's, let alone "loves" it.

Posted by: Brad Waller on April 5, 2006 8:41 PM

It's probably going to be better for Bryce's career to not get stuck with the Donald for a year.

(Also note: the inconsistant way "trump" is typeset on the outside of the building and the reception desk. (outside: lubalin graph, inside: times roman) tsk tsk tsk..

Posted by: Ben Weeks on April 6, 2006 2:37 AM

I agree with Steve Hall - Bryce was the only guy I've seen in all the seasons of The Apprentice that stuck to his guns without becoming a jackass. (Toral, anyone?)

Also, did anyone notice the stupid lobby window display that the camera panned across when Trump greets the contestants? Does anyone actually have a set of "Trump: The Game"???

Posted by: WL on April 6, 2006 3:33 AM

My Penis be in your pussy

Posted by: Kirkoloft on April 15, 2006 12:50 AM