Coaching Lessons From The Apprentice Transcript


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Donald Trump first introduced “The Apprentice” in 2004, and the original show has spawned successive seasons, international and celebrity versions, books, studies, and loyal fans since its inception.

Apprentice-wannabees compete in various business challenges and work together to achieve specific goals, until one is ultimately hired by Trump and awarded a salary of $250,000.

What lessons does “The Apprentice” offer Corporate America today?

Where are the Apprentices today and how do they continue to succeed in business?


* Ann Vanino, Author, Leadership on Trial: Lessons from The Apprentice

* Duncan Brodie, Managing Director, Goals and Achievements Limited

* Elizabeth Jarosz, Candidate from The Apprentice, Season 2

* Lauryn Franzoni, VP and Executive Editor of ExecuNet's Center for Executive Careers

* Troy McClain, Candidate from The Apprentice, Season 1


The Apprentice is a television franchise that originated in 2004 in the United States on NBC. Billed as "The Ultimate Job Interview," the show depicted a group of 15 to 18 businessmen and -women competing in an elimination-style competition for a one-year, $250,000 job of running one of host and executive producer Donald Trump’s companies.

Many magazines, newspapers, educational institutions, and organizations like the American Management Association have captured lessons learned from this hit reality show over the past several years.

For example according to The Boston Globe, institutions like Georgetown University and the University of Washington have weaved lessons learned from the show into classroom discussions on everything from what's fair play in negotiations to how to win customers.

In fact, ABC’s news “Working Wounded Blog” cited that 4.8% of people listed The Apprentice as “their main source for information about how to survive the workplace.”

What are the best practices we can capture from the show?

And how can we apply them both inside and outside of the boardroom?

Our panel of guests address these questions and more.

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Coaching Lessons From The Apprentice Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: Insight Educational Consulting Ubiqus Reporting (IEC)
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:26 Tom Floyd Hello everyone and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors, and sides of the emerging professional field. I’m Tom Floyd, I’m the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today’s show. This week our topic is “Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice.” We’ll speak with former contestants on The Apprentice about their experiences on this hit reality TV show. We’ll also chat with experts who have summarized overall business, leadership, and coaching lessons that have been gleaned from the show and applied to the business community. We have a fantastic panel of experts and coaches, as well as former contestants from The Apprentice on our show today. Our guests include Duncan Brodie, Lauryn Franzoni, Elizabeth Jarosz, Troy McClain, and Ann Vanino, and I’ll begin today by telling you a little bit more about each of them. I’ll start with Duncan first. Duncan Brodie is Managing Director of Goals and Achievements Ltd. a leadership development company that works with individuals, teams and organizations to develop their management and leadership capability. Duncan is also a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA), a Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator. Prior to starting his own business, he spent over 25 years in accountancy managing and leading teams in a range of major organizations including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Lloyds TSB and the National Health Service in the UK. Welcome to the show, Duncan. 1:49 Duncan Brodie Thank you. Thanks for inviting me. 1:52 Tom Floyd Our next guest Lauren Franzoni is Vice President & Executive Editor at ExecuNet, a recognized authority in executive career development, recruitment and retention trends. In this capacity, she leads the firm’s research initiatives, website and publication content, membership and customer acquisition; its Executive Career Management resources and communities of interest/networking services. Lauryn joined ExecuNet in 2004 bringing extensive experience in the specialized information industry including content development and community building for electronic/internet communications and print media for corporations and non-profit organizations. Welcome to the show, Lauryn. 2 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 2 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 2:30 Lauryn Thank you, Tom. It’s a pleasure to be here. Franzoni 2:32 Tom Floyd It’s a pleasure to have you. Our third guest Elizabeth Jarosz beat more than one million applicants to be on NBC’s second season of The Apprentice, where every week, 17 million watched her compete for the coveted position with Donald Trump. In addition to being a charismatic speaker, Elizabeth is the founder and president of Pulse40, Inc. an innovative market research/consulting firm that advises top Fortune500 companies such as Kraft, Intel, AT&T, Clorox, Blockbuster, Coca-Cola and Saachi & Saachi Advertising on market research, branding, and positioning strategy. Elizabeth’s accomplishments have been featured all over the media including: The Today Show; Fox News Live; Inside Edition; Regis & Kelly; The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch, and magazines including Business Week; People; Fast Company & Fortune Welcome to the show, Elizabeth. 3:19 Elizabeth Thank you. It’s good to be here. Jarosz 3:23 Tom Floyd Our next guest Troy McClain was a cast member on the first season of The Apprentice with Donald Trump, and is also an award winning international speaker, professional business coach and award winning television host. He is also founder and president of The McClain Company, a diverse and unique corporation providing coaching, personal branding and speaker services. Troy has appeared on CNN, Larry King Live, Dateline NBC, LIVE with Regis and Kelly, and E! Entertainment. He also was the host of “Miss World 2004,” host of the reality program “Home Team” and has appeared in the mini-series “The 100 Greatest TV Quotes & Catchphrases.”. Welcome to the show, Troy. 3:57 Troy McClain Thank you very much. I’m happy to be here. 3 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 3 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 3:59 Tom Floyd Last but not least, our last guest Ann Vanino is the owner of Moving Forward Coaching and Consulting and is also a business coach author and consultant based in Los Angeles, California. Her book Leadership on Trial: Lessons from The Apprentice offers seven leadership lessons from the first season of The Apprentice. Since 2000, Ann has also written a local newspaper column “Coaching Corner,” which guides readers to a fulfilling life, and has also published two e-books, Power Stories and Coaching Corner Volume 1. Additionally, she writes the leadership blog and a bimonthly eZine “Power at Work.” Welcome back to the show, Ann. 4:32 Ann Vanino Thank you. 4 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 4 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 4:34 Tom Floyd As most of our listeners know, Donald Trump first introduced The Apprentice in 2004. And the original show has spawned successive seasons, international and celebrity versions, books, studies, and certainly a large base of loyal fans since its inception. I’d like to begin, kind of as we do at the beginning of all of our shows, by quickly sharing some information that our research team pulled together about the show before we jump into our conversation today. First point, The Apprentice as a television franchise was originated in 2004 in the United States on NBC. Built as the ultimate job interview, the show depicted a group of 15 to 18 businessmen and women competing in an elimination style competition for a one-year $250,000 job of running one of host and executive producer Donald Trump’s companies. Since its premier, the show has spawned many licensed international versions as well as several imitations. Now, many magazines, newspapers, educational institutions, and organizations like The American Management Association have also captured lessons learned from this hit reality show over the past several years. For example, a headline from an article in the April 15th, 2004, issue of the Boston Globe reads, “Business schools nationwide find some real lessons in reality TV hit.” The article continues by highlighting the following. According to the article, there's an entire management class at the University of Washington in Seattle that is devoted to the show, complete with an hour- long question and answer session with one of Trump's assistants. At Georgetown University, the accounting and finance faculty, who usually turn up their noses at other reality shows like quot;Survivor,quot; are eagerly rehashing Apprentice episodes in the hallways and have even formed a pool to guess the winner. At business schools across the country these days, Donald Trump's The Apprentice is all the rage, working its way into classroom discussions on everything from what's fair play in negotiations to how to win customers -- or even on how the Donald should style his hair. At the University of Washington, about 80 undergraduates in the Management Lessons from The Apprentice class watch the show each week and come up with their own business plans for the tasks presented on television. Their final exam: A journal of real-life lessons that they learned from Trump. Last but not least, one last data point is from an ABC News blog called “The Working Wounded Blog,” which is maintained by Cindy Sheehan. According to her blog, a small percentage of people, 4.8% actually, cited The Apprentice as their main source for information about how to survive the workplace. Troy, I’d like to start with you to kick off the show today. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience on The Apprentice? What was it like being on the show? 5 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 5 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 7:22 Troy McClain Sure. First of all, it was an absolutely amazing experience. I’d have to back you up from the beginning to tell you how I got on the show. My life legitimately was ten miles to the left and ten miles to the right. I had spent most of my time mending fences or skinning my fist on something other than a contract. Here I am, a local guy with a little bit of exposure in my local community and running a small business. My wife had sent in the application. On the very first season of that Apprentice, there were over 215,000 people that had applied. There were 11,000 face-to-face interviews. Then it got down to 250 of us and then down to 50. I was the first person to go on the show with only a high school diploma to taut underneath his record. So I was going up against 15 contestants with some sort of college degree, anywhere from a B.A. to a PhD. When I went on the show, again, life from ten miles to the left and ten miles to the right. The next thing I know, I’m here in New York City and just staring at all these big concrete walls. The journey was incredible. But I say that because that’s what I decided to make it. I know a lot of other people have different opinions on their experience. For me, just to have the opportunity to interact and work within those type of scenes and in those type of scenarios was something that was breathtaking and something that really helps hone in my skills later on in life. 8:50 Tom Floyd So it sounds like overall, in terms of the experience you had, it was definitely a positive experience, and a very motivational experience, too. 8:58 Troy McClain Yes, for me it was definitely a positive experience. Here’s what I tell everybody. It’s kind of like bungee jumping or sky diving. At the time, you’re asking yourself, “Why in goodness gracious am I doing this?” But looking back on it, you go, “That was a hell of an experience.” 9:18 Tom Floyd Did you ever think that the show would become so big that organizations like the American Management Association and universities like the University of Washington would be pulling business lessons learned from it? 6 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 6 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 9:30 Troy McClain No, we had no clue that The Apprentice was going to be what The Apprentice was. We were even told in the beginning that they didn’t even know if it was going to get picked up as a series. Then we taped from September of ’03 to November of ’03. By January of ’04, they were averaging 28 million Americans watching the show. The show had introduced us to a whole new world. We had fans who were not just regular fans but fans of high net worth, such as Warren Buffett. Warren Buffet sent a private jet, picked me up in Boise, Idaho, flew me to Omaha, Nebraska, and I got to hang out with the guy for a day. Bill Gates, we met Bill William Gates. Mark Cuban showed up and contacted us. It certainly didn’t define me, but it definitely gave me a platform to talk about my particular style in life and my particular style in business. It certainly was a great education. I end with this. I did not go to college, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t get educated. I tell a lot of people, “Some people pay tuition to get their education. I paid attention.” I just paid attention to some of the great coaches that are out there, some of the great business leaders that are out there. I learned to get my education through paying attention. 10:57 Tom Floyd I have one last question for you real fast. If you had to summarize what your personal biggest lesson learned from being on the show was, what would you say that lesson is? 11:07 Troy McClain I’d say the biggest lesson I learned from being on the show is that it’s not the amount of money that you claim on your tax returns that makes you great. It’s the work experience and life experience that makes you great. I have learned tons of lessons from Gates, Buffett, Trump, even from Cuban, but I realize that I’ve also learned those lessons from people less obvious that have been in front of me my whole entire life. They just don’t have the tax returns to say that they’re that great. 7 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 7 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 11:34 Tom Floyd It certainly sounds like a great lesson to me. Elizabeth, I’d like to turn to you next. You were a contestant on Season 2 of The Apprentice. What was your personal biggest lesson learned from being on the show yourself? 11:47 Elizabeth First I just want to say, I was on Season 2, so Troy’s season really, really catapulted Jarosz our season, as well. I just want to honor you, Troy, and all the stuff that you guys did, because it really made a fantastic experience for us, as well. We ended up having a million apply for Season 2. Then they chose 18. It was just, for me, an honor to even be chosen to get onto the show at that point. I think my biggest lesson, to answer your question, Tom, is really that what I do inside, my workplace within, is really what determines my experience and my reality. It’s kind of like Troy said. It’s a little bit like bungee jumping or sky diving. At the time you’re going through this experience, and you are kind of thinking, “What am I doing? What am I doing?” In that moment, I started to question myself a little bit. I started to question lots of things. I think the key lesson I walked away from is that I can still stay centered within myself in those kinds of moments. It’s really made me stronger as I’ve gone about my business in the real world after the fact. Now I don’t waiver much. I know that I create my reality and it’s all inside of me. 13:16 Tom Floyd You brought up several great points that were actually captured in Ann’s book for example. We’ll definitely come back to those. It sounds like the biggest lesson learned was really staying true to yourself and who you are. 13:28 Elizabeth Very much so. I think I did that to a great degree on the show. Jarosz I grew up in Michigan. I’m from the Midwest. Authenticity has always been a very, very important thing to me. I didn’t do anything on the show that I wasn’t proud of. Just the internal journey that I went on while I was on the show, I just remember I questioned myself a little bit. I looked back on that and really learned from that. 8 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 8 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 13:52 Tom Floyd I’d like to ask the same question I asked Troy, too. When you were on the show, did you ever think that business schools and organizations like the AMA would be pulling lessons learned from the program? 14:05 Elizabeth I did not. Jarosz Even though we had a lot of acclaim because of Season 1, at that point, we didn’t know that business schools were doing lessons learned or even that the water cooler chat in the office was about The Apprentice. When I found that out, I was really, really honored. I did speak at the American Management Association. Just to see the lessons that they were teaching from the show made me feel like I was a part of something that was positively influencing society in some way at that point. 14:36 Tom Floyd Has the show changed your view at all on things like leadership, teamwork, and the other skills that we typically hear about that are needed to be successful in the workplace today? 14:49 Elizabeth The thing that I found interesting about The Apprentice and teamwork is that it’s not Jarosz like a typical team that you would put together where, as a leader, you can create the same end goal and the same reward. At the end of the day in The Apprentice, we’re competing for one position. Even if we, as a team, were on the same page in terms of wanting to win a particular task, many people on the team were also not really on the same page in terms of wanting, for example, me to win or anyone other than themselves to win. In an environment like that, I really learned how to rally people around something even when, seemingly, at the end you didn’t have similar objectives. Choose a third point of reference that everybody could really get wrapped around and go for. 15:44 Troy McClain I concur with that completely. 15:46 Elizabeth That’s an incredible skill. Jarosz 15:47 Troy McClain I concur with that absolutely, Elizabeth. 9 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 9 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 15:50 Elizabeth Yes. Jarosz 15:51 Troy McClain You said that correctly. That was a very challenging time to try to figure out how you are going to get the team to win, when individuals within the team want you out? 16:00 Elizabeth Right. Jarosz 16:01 Tom Floyd So to summarize what you said, what helped was finding a cause or a mission that’s bigger than yourself. You get them to rally around that opportunity. 16:10 Elizabeth Yes, that is just a huge skill that I’ve taken with me in life. Jarosz Actually the lesson around rallying the team is why I got fired. The team staged a little coup and decided not to do what I was hoping to do for the past. I ultimately got fired, because Trump said that I didn’t lead the team. So I really looked at that lesson. It was beautiful. It was a beautiful lesson to get. 16:36 Tom Floyd In terms of some of the things that you both had to rally people around, they were tasks that the opportunistic person out there would have been too overwhelmed to even try to tackle. It’s like what you said. They’re not on the same page. And I can imagine how difficult it was to get pretty difficult personalities to rally around some of those things. 10 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 10 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 16:57 Troy McClain Yes, here was a challenge that I think a lot of people don’t realize. In business or in life, you have a sales cycle or a life cycle of whatever comes to play. Let’s just pick a widget. When you originate that widget, and you also sell that widget, usually you have an average sale cycle of about 30 days. Along those 30 days, you have bumps in the road that are just little blips in the road. You were supposed to call someone back on a Friday, but you don’t get back to them until Monday. You were supposed to deliver the product on a Monday, but you didn’t get it delivered until Tuesday. What the genius of Trump and Apprentice was that they took that sales cycle, and they grabbed onto either end of that sales cycle from the beginning to end. They put their hands around it, and they crushed it together. They crushed it together, and they gave you 48 hours to accomplish the same thing that takes 30 days. Now those little bumps in the road become catastrophic errors. If you fail to call somebody back on a Friday, it’s too late. You don’t have until Monday. It’s over. If you fail to deliver the product on a Monday, and you deliver on a Tuesday, it’s over. These little bumps in the road become grave errors on The Apprentice. It really taught us to look beyond the obvious of things and really taught us to get involved in something that’s bigger. We had to take on a challenge that said, “Okay. Today you’re going to be my friend, but tomorrow you’re going to be my respected adversary.” You learn to work with your adversary quite well to get through to the next task. 18:40 Tom Floyd Excellent. Ann, I’d like to turn to you next. Later in the show, we’re going to focus on some of the specific lessons within your book, Leadership on Trial: Lessons from The Apprentice. For now just a big picture question, can you tell us a little bit more about what led you to write a book about lessons learned from the show? 11 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 11 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 18:58 Ann Vanino Sure, I’d be happy to. The first point was what led me to see the show. With my schedule and everything, there wasn’t time to get involved in reality TV. But I read an article the week before the show premiered in the New York Times. It said that the show was about power at work. I work with my clients on maximizing their performance and finding fulfillment at work, so I decided to take a look. I became a huge fan and didn’t miss an episode. The way that I used it was, both for my own observation of how people worked within the workplace, and also looking at Donald Trump and how he managed in the standards that he set up. I was actually writing another book about power in the workplace. We were driving up to Northern California, my husband and I. We were talking about The Apprentice, and he said, “Why don’t you write a book about The Apprentice.” I said, “No way. I’ve got plenty to do.” I started thinking about it. I went to a brunch, and a lot of people who had graduated from top schools and MBA programs were there. I said, “My husband thinks I should write a book.” They were all fans of the first season of The Apprentice. I quickly wrote an outline, and that was that. It was great to write the book. I learned a lot in the writing of it as well as from the show. 20:15 Tom Floyd It’s funny how in life you never quite know when that inspiration is going to hit you. I’m sure you didn’t think an afternoon car ride with your husband in California was going to inspire you to write a book. Funny how that happens, right? 20:26 Ann Vanino It sure is. It was inspired. The main thing is to be open to it. I’m sure everybody on the call can tell about times that, if you’re open and receptive and don’t block things off, it leads you on a wonderful ride. This book has been one for me. 20:40 Tom Floyd From your perspective, do you believe the challenges that the contestants faced across the various seasons were typical of those that business professionals faced in the workplace today? 12 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 12 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 20:53 Ann Vanino They were typical in the sense that they had some of the elements. But I think they weren’t typical in what Troy was talking about, in the intense time crunch, and what Elizabeth was talking about that everybody was competing for one position, but they had to be a team in order to succeed. I think some of it was intense and you were on a much bigger stage besides the fact that you were on national television with millions of people watching you. I think the lessons were clearly there. One way that I used the show was when I was working with people that were trying to understand the workplace better and know the game of work, I say, “Take a look at The Apprentice, and let me know what you find out.” That led me to put a series of forms where you could look at The Apprentice as a case study in the back of my book. That’s why the American Management Association and the University of Washington are looking at that. You can take a case study and follow a candidate all the way through. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? You can follow a team. You can pretend that you’re Donald and say, “How would you have judged the performance in the boardroom?” 22:02 Tom Floyd Interesting. Lauryn, I’d like to loop you in on the conversation next. What kind of impact do you feel The Apprentice has had on Corporate America and the business world? 13 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 13 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 22:12 Lauryn One of the things we see from the executives in our network is that the fascination Franzoni: with The Apprentice has a lot to do with how it does reflect so many of the way days do place out with them. While it definitely was a compressed time period, and there were certainly lessons learned from that, I think what you saw in so many of the participants was their reactions to stress in the workplace. There was a stressful work situation. An interview, for example, is one of the most stressful things that a leader will go through when trying to achieve a new position, whether it’s inside a company or in a new company. This very visible interview process, if you will, and the fact that everything about your performance is seen by such a wide audience of people, really reminds us a bit about how we react under stress to certain situations. I think that if you think through any of The Apprentice seasons that you’ve watched, you think about who you might say was a winner. There’s always a winner, but there’s certainly more than one winner per program and per season. There are a number of people who stand out. The people who really stand out in their performance are the people who had focus, who had flexibility, who could listen and learn from whatever environment they were thrown into. However long they made it through the season, they had very consistent values showing. They typically were very positive and had creative and enthusiastic approaches. That’s what companies are looking for when they’re interviewing potential executives. They’re looking for that kind of show. That’s why they’ll go through even nine people interviews, two days, three panels, all that sort of thing, to see how they’re going to perform. Then we also have this fish bowl effect of everyone watching. This was one of the first times that individuals who had been entrepreneurs, successful business people in their own right, suddenly not just known in their local communities. They were known across the country, across the world. This was a preview of what we’re now seeing in the way that companies are doing major online searches about candidates before they even bring them in to do an interview process. Everything of the everyday businessperson’s activities and what they’re known for may be now very accessible on the Internet. They could be either qualified or disqualified even from getting into the discussion based on what’s out there. For these folks like Troy and Elizabeth, they’ve had this tremendous microscope put on them. They were amongst the first out there. Now this is becoming quite commonplace. Executives and business people are looking at their careers. They have to think, not only who do they know and who knows them, but who knows what about them and who knows what they can do. 14 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 14 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 25:29 Troy McClain I’d like to add to that— 25:30 Tom Floyd Troy. 25:31 Troy McClain —Lauryn. That is absolutely correct. One of the things that most people don’t realize is we were all interviewing for a job that we didn’t know what the job was. I point that out to a lot of people. I go, “When you apply for a job, and the job is advertising a sales position, you cater your resume, your character, and your behavior towards your sales attributes. But if it’s a management job, you cater your resume more towards management.” We were asked to apply for a job, but yet they wouldn’t tell us what the job was. The job description was left blank. I was just told, “The job will be for this amount of money, and it will be for this person. But we will not tell you what the job entails, and we just want to watch your behavior and your character.” Then to add what you also said, Lauryn, there was a lot of winners out there that didn’t win the show. I tell everybody that winning is for losers sometimes. I lost the coveted position, but I won so much more, because I won exposure via the bandwidth of, not only TV, but the Internet. We literally took our miles from ten miles to the left to ten miles to the right. Next thing I know, it was Australia to Alaska. We had firms calling us up from Australia. We had firms calling us up from China and Australia. The bandwidth of that Internet is something that I compliment on what you’re saying. It’s amazing, and more and more people are just looking at your online performance or your documented information that you have out there via the Internet or via the bandwidth of TV. I think that really opened my eyes. 27:17 Elizabeth And I am still getting requests. The last I think was Africa. Jarosz They must be airing The Apprentice in Africa or something at this point. It’s really quite the reach in terms of lessons learned. It’s not just in the States. It’s been really all over the world. 27:36 Tom Floyd Yes, it sounds like— 15 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 15 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 27:37 Elizabeth It’s interesting to watch, because you— Jarosz 27:38 Tom Floyd —to recap, in terms of some of the impact that it had, one is the show has definitely put a focus on some of the things that companies and organizations within Corporate America look for in successful people they would bring into their organizations. Lauryn, you mentioned flexibility and the ability to learn and focus, things like that. It really helps people see what some of those trades are. In terms of hiring people and making sure you are selecting the right candidate for a job, it really magnified to do your research and the importance of carefully looking at what the person has done in the past. You mentioned online search and things like that. It sounds like some of the points that the show really brought to fruition. One last question before we go to our first commercial break, Duncan, I’d like to turn to you. I understand you’ve spent some time capturing the differences and similarities between, both The Apprentice in the U.S., as well as The Apprentice that ran in the UK. What have been some of your observations in doing so, and also anything in general you would add to the conversation so far? 28:47 Duncan Brodie I think many great points have been made. A couple of things, we’ve just had Season 4 of The Apprentice in the UK and have just chosen a brand new apprentice. It’s a gentleman called Sir Allen Sugar. He’s best known for involvement in the technology business. I think a couple of points were made earlier on about listening to different people’s views around contributions. It’s really important. We had one candidate - who maybe was slightly loony. I think that’s how Allen described the person. But she actually had a very sharp business brain. I think we also saw that in The Apprentice, while it’s obviously very pressurized in terms of a lot to do in not a lot of time, sometimes you just need to stand back and do a check on what you’re doing. A great example in the UK was on the very first task of the season, where our candidates had to sell boxes of fish. One of the teams - - started selling the fish priced a whole lot down at the per kilogram price. They’re making lots of sales, but they were selling lobsters for about $8, when they probably should have been selling them for about $46. I think sometimes you’ve just got to stand back in that frame. Business is demanding, and business does sometimes require you to think on your feet very quickly. 16 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 16 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 30:49 Tom Floyd That’s a great point. I’m starting to hear the music for our first commercial break. Let’s go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned, everyone. More from Insight on Coaching when we return. 33:22 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. I’m Tom Floyd. For those of you just joining us today, today the topic is “Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice.” With me are Duncan Brodie, Managing Director of Goals and Achievements Limited, Lauryn Franzoni, Vice President and Executive Editor of ExecuNet’s Center for Executive Careers, Elizabeth Jarosz, former contestant from The Apprentice Season 2 and Founder and President of Pulse40 Incorporated, Troy McClain, former contestant on The Apprentice Season 1 and Founder and President of The McClain Company, and Ann Vanino, Executive Coach and Author of Leadership on Trial: Lessons from The Apprentice. In this segment of the show, I’d like to begin our discussion around some of the lessons learned from The Apprentice, particularly some of the overall business lessons. I’m going to quickly share some more data that our research team pulled together to set the stage. According to a Business Week article titled “Lessons B-schoolers Can Learn from The Apprentice”, which appeared in its February 2nd, 2004 issue, writer Jennifer Merritt notes, “The show features some hard lessons you aren't likely to learn in typical case studies on leadership.” Two lessons summarized in the article include: Lesson 1: Always watch your back. For all the enlightened talk of teamwork, when push comes to shove, people often look out for themselves and try to blame others for their failures. Lesson 2: There's no such thing as bad publicity. Quality isn't what drives customers to buy. Exposure is what matters in a celebrity- obsessed society. Call it the Donald Trump version of Marketing 101. In Workforce Management, writer John Hollon identifies key “Lessons from the Donald” as he puts them, saying, “There are lessons to be learned from quot;The Apprentice,quot; and they can be applied to any business and workforce anywhere.” Three lessons he summarizes include: Lesson No. 1: Leadership-even a little bit of it-matters. Although it is largely an individual competition, it's not surprising that the winners of quot;The Apprenticequot; were the people who showed some basic team leadership skills, at least at a very minor level. Lesson No. 2: Second-guessing is fatally disruptive. quot;The Apprenticequot; is a show where the second-guessing goes nonstop. Competitors constantly second-guess one another's motives, appearance, work habits, leadership skills and everything else. And Trump is the worst, using the weekly boardroom appearance by the losing team as an opportunity to second-guess everything before he summarily fires 17 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 17 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript someone. Lesson No. 3: It's good to be a selfless team player (even if Trump doesn't think so). Each week on quot;The Apprentice,quot; two of the competitors are designated as quot;project managersquot; for that week's task. The manager of the winning team gets a small bonus: They can't be fired if their team loses the next week. Getting people to put the larger team above their own personal self-interest is one of the real keys to success for most any business and not a reason to fire someone. Finally, as The New York Times put it, quot;The show's firing ritual is somehow more plausible than voting people off islands. It reflects the musical chairs quality of corporate life: top management keeps taking away seats so that only people no one would ever want to work with are left.quot; 36:37 Tom Floyd Duncan, I’d like to start with you for this segment. I’d like to begin with the New York Times quote first. Do you believe that The Apprentice reflects what it refers to as the musical chair quality of corporate life, so to speak? 36:52 Duncan Brodie Yes, I think that you have that, particularly in senior levels in the organizations. Whether The Apprentice really reflects it I would say is questionable, because as Troy and Elizabeth have mentioned, it is incredibly short periods of time. I do think that there is definitely a drive in businesses of getting results and getting results quickly. Sometimes the cost is success achieved in the short-term, but sustainable success is not achieved. 37:41 Tom Floyd Lauryn, anything that you would add? 18 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 18 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 37:44 Lauryn I think Duncan’s got a point. As you know, companies are frequently assessing the Franzoni: leadership potential of the professionals in the organization. They have high performers, the hi-pos, as they call them. Does that mean the others are all low performers or just not quite as high? There’s a big question as to whether one should even structure it that way. One of the things The Apprentice reminded me of was how many business school grads, and also as common in large non-profit organizations in their fellows programs, where they bring individuals in through some period of time, whether it be a year or two years. They rotate them through a variety of departments or perhaps businesses within the organization. As Troy said before the break, you suddenly find yourself performing an interview, and you don’t know what your end goal is. It’s a very difficult position to put people in. So they really have no foundation beyond who they are, what they can bring to the table, and how quickly they can respond to the situation. I spoke to a professional just the other day that said her experience living through one of these yearlong programs was that every time she went to a new department, it was as though she left one team and had gone to the other. You think about how Trump used to reformulate teams, where suddenly you’d been all for your one team, and suddenly you have to switch allegiances, join the other team, compete just as hard, and bring your specific goals to the organization. I think it’s very much a sense of you need to know what’s driving you, and in any situation, to always look for, “What am I passionate about? What is it that I can bring to this situation to try to create success?” Because you might not always be in control of the situation. 39:42 Tom Floyd It really is a sink or swim situation in those situations, and to summarize it sounds like it’s important to really stick to your goals, your passions, and what’s driving you to get through it? 39:53 Lauryn Exactly. Franzoni: 19 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 19 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 39:54 Tom Floyd Okay. Elizabeth, I have a question for you. The first lesson that was captured in the Business Week article that I referenced was, “Always watch your back.” It talked about the contestants blaming each other and only looking out for themselves and things like that. Can you tell us about your experience around that? Was that a recurring theme or something that you consistently saw while you were on the show? 40:16 Elizabeth The answer to that is yes. Was I mentioned in that article? Jarosz 40:22 Tom Floyd (Laughing) You weren’t. 40:24 Elizabeth I’ve seen very similar articles listing a couple of examples of those who had fallen Jarosz victim to that lesson. Yes, just because of the way I was fired, as I mentioned earlier, basically what happened, those of you listening who don’t remember, we were doing an NYPD marketing task. Marketing is my specialty. That’s what I do for many corporations. I felt very strongly that we should do a positive campaign message. We ended up doing a very negative message mostly because the team decided that that’s what they wanted to do, and just kind of rallied together and didn’t want to listen. I found out later actually through the interview process before I went to the boardroom to get fired, they had decided to do that as a team, almost stage a coup. One of the teammates of mine came to me and told me that. That would be a watch- your-back scenario in my mind. Prior to that, I had done pretty well. I think they were kind of gunning for people that they thought they could get off the show. Whenever you’re a project leader on that show, you’re a target. If everybody can come into the boardroom and say, “We think it’s this. We think it’s this,” and everybody’s the same, it makes it pretty easy for Trump to make a decision. That’s what happened to me. That’s why I was bringing up earlier the idea of how do you lead a team when you have competing objectives? It’s the point of going for something greater than just yourself or your own interests. 20 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 20 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 42:01 Tom Floyd Ann, let’s talk about the same situation Elizabeth just highlighted or same type of situation in the workplace. If we’re coming at it from a coaching perspective, for example, let’s say you’ve got a coach out there is a coaching the manger, who has a team full of people who are finger-pointing and placing blame on each other or, in this case, forming a coup perhaps. How would you guide a manager in dealing with that situation? Are there any relevant points that you would pull from the show about that? 42:33 Ann Vanino I think one of the surprises in writing the book—a lot of the lessons were things that I might have guessed before were going to be lessons—to be a true leader, you have to know when to join and when to lead. Everybody’s been talking about that in the show today. There was one point where one of the contestants, Tammy in the first season, said she knew that they had done a particular job. Trump really went at her. He said, “You were part of a team. That wasn’t a place where you needed to pull away from the team and distinguish yourself.” If I was coaching someone, and they were either getting a sense that people were going to be moving against that person, or someone told them, as in Elizabeth’s case, I think what I would recommend is that we coach on, “Is this a time for you to lead and really size up the situation and move out on your own rather than being concerned about being a leader of a team and having to be a real team member?” I think it’s a very important point. I think it’s something that you have to address if you’re going to move up into the higher ranks of management to know when you’re joining and when you’re leading. The Apprentice is a perfect example of that. As Elizabeth mentioned, you are competing for one spot, but your success in most of the show is dependent on working well as a team. 43:53 Troy McClain I think it’s funny, because the group was me - - Katrina. That was— 43:57 Ann Vanino That’s right. You’re in there. 43:58 Troy McClain I want what you want. 44:00 Ann Vanino Right. 21 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 21 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 44:01 Troy McClain Right after I wrote that, and after it aired, I got contacted by every law firm. I guess there’s an actual strategy or technique. There’s some name to it. I don’t know what it was. What they’re referring to is Katrina and I were negotiating over two separate pieces of property. I knew that I wanted exactly what she wanted, but she didn’t want to own up to that. 44:29 Tom Floyd I hate to interrupt but I’m hearing the music for our next commercial break. 44:30 Troy McClain Okay. 44:31 Tom Floyd Let’s go ahead and go on pause. More from Insight on Coaching and “Lessons Learned from The Apprentice” when we return. 22 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 22 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 47:14 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. I’m Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice. With me are Duncan Brodie, Lauryn Franzoni, Elizabeth Jarosz, Troy McClain, and Ann Vanino. In the last segment of our show, I’d like to talk more about some of the leadership and coaching lessons pulled from the show as captured in our guest Ann Vanino’s book, Leadership on Trial: Lessons from The Apprentice. Here’s some additional information to very quickly set the stage. In Leadership on Trial: Lessons from The Apprentice, professional business coach and one of our guests, Ann Vanino, illustrates seven distinct lessons found in the first season of The Apprentice. Leadership on Trial goes beyond the show itself, giving readers advice on developing leadership skills and providing exercises and resources through which readers can put the lessons into practice. Ann highlights the following set of leadership lessons in the book: Lesson 1, take risks. Lesson 2, be yourself. I think that’s one we’ve certainly talked about so far in the show, as well. Lesson 3, know the game, also has already come up. Lesson 4, maintain balance. Lesson 5, have a strategy. Lesson 6, think outside the box. Lesson 7, another great point we talked about, know when to join and when to lead. Ann, so many of these lessons called out to me. It’s interesting how many in the natural course of our conversation today have already come out and been discussed. Let’s focus on one that we haven’t talked about as much yet. That’s Lesson 1, “Take risks.” Can you tell us a little bit more about that? When and why is it important for leaders to take risks in the workplace? 23 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 23 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 48:50 Ann Vanino I think risk is an absolute part of every workday. It may be in large degrees or small degrees. I think what it means is that you can’t succeed in business without taking them. It means that there will always be unknowns involved in business situations. You have to get comfortable with the possibility of loss. If you strive for absolute certainty or safety, you’re doomed. You’re not going to get very far. There are certainly some jobs that you can do, but you have to take risks. Every person that applied for The Apprentice took risks. Troy was talking about his reluctance to go on there, but he jumped. It had wonderful consequences for him. So I think in our society we create safety. If you stay in the box, if you go the way that people say, “You’ll have a fairly safe life,” you may not have a very interesting life or even perhaps a fulfilling life. You have to get used to taking risks. You have to be able at some point to jump out of your comfort zone into the unknown and take a leap. For several years I worked in New York City as part of a hazardous materials response team. That’s where I really learned to take risks. You had to make decisions with limited information, and they had to be made immediately. There was no going back. You had to live with what you decided, go for it, and then move from there. 50:07 Troy McClain Ann, I agree with that. Even in talking about my situation, I was not going to apply for the show. Had I not applied for the show, I would not have the bandwidth that I have today. I think, in taking those risks, you’ve even got to look at the end goal. My end goal was ultimately to win. If I look at it, I did win, simply by making it through the process. I may not have won the coveted position, but I won so much more if I’m willing to open my eyes and look at that. Today we literally travel the world. Today we speak for Lockheed Martin, the Clinton Foundation, and Berkshire Hathaway. We got introduced to that because of my willingness to take a risk, or actually truly because of my wife’s encouragement to make me take a risk. 50:56 Tom Floyd From both the story that you shared before the last break and just in general, would you summarize that as saying that those who were successful on the show were those who took more risks than others? 24 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 24 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 51:09 Troy McClain Absolutely, absolutely. Here’s what I will say. The ones that continued to take risk on the show are the ones that continued to be successful after the show. 51:21 Tom Floyd Interesting. That makes sense. Elizabeth, is there anything that you would add to that? Do you think those who took risks were more successful than others? A follow-up question is can you think of a situation where taking a risk backfired on anybody on the show, too? 51:41 Elizabeth To answer the first question, I think taking risks is critical if you want to live a fulfilling Jarosz life. I just firmly, firmly believe that. It’s something that I’m growing more and more into myself. Obviously, I’m a risk-taker. I didn’t have a problem going up in front of 20 million people and competing for the job. On some level, I have that going for me. Everybody, including myself, we think about things. We weigh the options. We want to take calculated risks. I remember terms like “cautiously optimistic” that came out even in my season of The Apprentice. I think the more I look at my own life, the more I realize that when I’ve actually made the leap, as was said earlier in the show, and risked potentially losing something, those were the times where the big things happened to me, the big transitions, the big changes, where the things that I’ve always wanted to happen in my life have happened. It’s when I play it safe and I stay in my box that I get more of the same. So I think it’s just a critical piece of success and really pushing yourself to limits and transitioning from one state to another. Separately, I just want to mention that Troy and I have had a couple of conversations just in the last week. He is somebody who is consistently taking risks. We were talking about a project that I have going. One of the things that he was saying to me was, “Elizabeth, you’ve got to take the leap. You’ve got to take the risk.” So I bring that up, because I think having support and having a network around you of people who are of like mind, who think big like you do, or at least surround yourself with people who you want to be more like is really, really important, because you encourage each other. That’s the kind of support network that’s there no matter what happens with the particular project. 53:40 Tom Floyd Really having that network encourages you, inspires you, and makes taking some of those risks a little bit less scary. 25 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 25 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript
  26. 26. Time Speaker Transcript 53:47 Elizabeth Absolutely. That brings up the whole networking point, which we don’t talk about a Jarosz lot when we talk about The Apprentice, because much of it happens after the fact. Nobody really asks those questions. What a powerful group of individuals hand-selected from across the county. I have made some incredible friends, Troy being one of them. 54:10 Troy McClain I concur with that, too. 54:10 Elizabeth That’s important in doing business. Jarosz 54:13 Tom Floyd That is certainly a great point, as well. I feel like there’s so many lessons learned from this show. I think we need to have at least another follow-up show or two! Unfortunately, I can’t believe it; we’re at the end of our show today. A huge thank you to the five of you for joining us today. As always, a huge thank you to our listeners, as well. For more information about our show, you can look us up on the Voice of America business channel. You can visit our website at . Don’t forget you can download the podcast version of this show as well. Just go to Apple iTunes. Click podcast on the left side of the screen. Enter “Insight on Coaching” in the search field, and you’ll see us from there. Thanks everyone, we’ll see you next week. 26 | Confidential June 30, 2008 Page 26 Coaching Lessons from The Apprentice Transcript