Can business people learn lessons from The Apprentice?

coffeeTonight, 13th October sees the second episode of this years series of The Apprentice on BBC1 at 9pm. I am sure most (all) of you will know the format by now, Lord Alan Sugar “interviews” a number of the UK’s “leading business brains” with the winner taking a job on his staff. The interview process involves the contestants taking part in a series of challenges/ tasks over a number of weeks and at the end of each show someone is “fired”.

Personally I love the show, and I will be blogging about it regularly at www.thegrowthacademy.com/blog. I always have been a huge fan of the show and I am also a keen viewer of the USA version as well but is it just good TV or will it be jam packed full of business lessons?

I suspect we will see some very bad examples of team leadership,rotten team work, and dreadful business planning as in previous years with a fair sprinkling of egos clashing! Tonight you can be sure that we will get some random team names selected in a greasy spoon with no staff or other customers and a few candidates slipping immediately into the shadows to avoid elimination as long as possible. The more exuberant of the pack will strive for attention and will try to stamp their authority on the show, boldly stating how they are the best around in their chosen field but then going onto to show no evidence of that at all! Being on the show can’t be easy, there is no doubt that the producers will push the contestants to ensure the entertainment is plentiful and the majority of errors made will be due partly to the unrealistic time frames given to them to get a task completed but some will also be down to pure incompetence.

There will almost certainly be a lot of demonstrations of how not to do things, but I sincerely hope there will also be some great examples of how things should be done. I would like to see some originality and some creativity and maybe even some inspiration for small business owners around the UK would be useful too but if we use last years series as a bench mark, I expect to be disappointed on the positive front!

Most people primarily watch The Apprentice and the other business based TV shows for entertainment value but these shows have definitely put “business” back into the focus of the British public and given it some credibility, even turning people like Duncan Bannatyne into celebrities, but lets hope that this years selection of candidates do themselves justice and don’t leave us all cringing!

Getting back to the original question, “Can business people learn lessons from The Apprentice? We can definitely learn some lessons from the show, good or bad will remain to be seen…

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