Ivanka Trump blogs 'The Apprentice': Episode 11
Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBCHi Apprentice fans! Happy Thanksgiving – I hope that you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving evening and your latest dose of The Apprentice. This week’s episode was one of the most intense of the season, with the pressure on, and the game-playing at an all time high! I am excited to share my thoughts with you and hear what you think.
Keep it Flexible
I was thrilled for Steuart as he got the chance to meet Cathie Black, Chairman of Hearst Magazines, NYC’s next school chancellor, and contributor to my book, The Trump Card. In my opinion, she is one of the most intelligent, forward thinking and accomplished women business leaders today. Steuart was a quick study, and I think that he got a lot out of his meeting with Cathie, particularly that quality is always better than quantity in every business. Thanks to Cathie for her always terrific advice.
Back to the Battle of the Sexes
For this week’s task, the teams were returned to men vs. women, which I knew would prove to be an interesting dynamic. With only 4 players left, there was nowhere left to hide, and everyone had to put their best foot forward…and then some.
With Don and I unavailable for this task, my father had to rely on Juan Bettencourt and Catherine Roman, the noted head hunters, in a return appearance. Once they came on board, you could sense the added pressure of impressing both my father and the headhunters. The choices for PMs were obvious – Liza would head up Fortitude, and Clint would lead Octane. I was most interested to see how Liza would do, as she had taken such a background role all season. I was hoping she would step up and show some mettle!
The task – to sell Isaac Mizrahi’s products on QVC – seemed like it would give both teams the opportunity to shine – both Clint and Steuart are strong salesman and Brandy has thus far been one of the strongest presenters this season. However, the task itself was not the highlight of the episode – game-play was. Clint turned out to be quite the strategist, first throwing Steuart off his game with verbal jabs on the helicopter (saying Steuart was too immature to be the Apprentice and that he was like a little brother) and giving the ladies what he thought was a disadvantage.
When it came time to choose which product to sell, Brandy and Liza wanted to sell watches, and they thought that the men wanted to sell the handbags. While Clint made it appear like that was what the men wanted, they actually were just focused on securing the better time slot. They let the women pick their product first, ensuring the men of obtaining the choice of second slot. Great move! As Catherine Roman said, “Clint had clear strategy, and he dominated the negotiation.” Clint is always a perfect gentleman, but it was fun to see the gloves come off.
Liza turned out to be a strong player in this task – making decisions based on research and past experience. Her choice of Brandy as a presenter was well justified because she has been well received in the past. It was a solid strategy on Liza’s part and I was impressed. Part of being strong in business is being able to identify other people’s strength and delegate responsibility accordingly. Liza was truly the underdog here, and I liked that she was finally confident in her choices and able to implement them.
Both Clint and Liza illustrated the ambition and strength needed to win The Apprentice – I expected this performance from Clint, but it was truly a game changer for Liza. With Brandy and Steaurt presenting, and Clint and Liza strategizing – this was going to be a tough one to call.
The Sweet Spot
When my father and Isaac Mizrahi met to view the footage – it seemed that the teams had made the same mistake on opposite ends – both had priced the product wrong. Isaac is an incredible salesman and so well-versed in this area of retail that it must have driven him crazy to see that the sales “sweet spot” was missed!
Finally, the boardroom turned out to be a positive place for Liza. When my father questioned her decision not to present, she explained that the QVC audience is 85% Caucasian according to the demographics and therefore felt that Brandy was a more obvious choice. My father said it was a big statement but that he respected her honesty, and subsequent strategy, and you could tell that he was happy to see that she had stepped up to the plate.
At the end of the day, however, it was the sales that mattered, and with all of Clint’s game-play, the women still ended up beating the men! Congratulations to Liza – she couldn’t have picked a better time to show her strong side and win. I am proud of her!
This fire was a hard one, as they always are at the end of the season. Both Steuart and Clint have been great players throughout the show, but at the end of the day, my father thought Clint would be the stronger of the two. Steuart was fired.
As my father said, I truly believe that there were no “losers” on this episode, but someone had to go home. Steuart has done a stellar job throughout the show and I have no doubt he will continue to meet with success. I wish him the best of luck.
See you in the Boardroom next week! Happy Thanksgiving weekend!
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If you want advice from visionaries such as Cathie Black, find out more about my book, The Trump Card at Amazon.com.