Author, Consultant, Executive Coach - Helping people and organizations grow into desired results

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Apprentice Final analysis, RWA: Effective Management

Summary: Management is usually defined as "getting work done through people." More to the point, I think it's "the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it" (paraphrasing former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower). In this final post of my series reviewing the personalities and behaviours of candidates on The Apprentice Australia I'll discuss how Effective Management cost the losers, decided the winner...and how it could have all ended very differently.

Leadership and Management

Increasingly it seems leadership is outpacing management as the focus of development for those people in an organization whose job it is to "get things done through people." Leadership is seen as sexy, management as necessary but...mundane.

So just what is the difference between the two? Some thoughts:

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
~ Warren G. Bennis (scholar, consultant, author)

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

~Peter F. Drucker (management consultant, writer)

Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.
~John P. Kotter (Harvard professor of Organizational Behaviour)

The renowned management theorist Henry Mintzberg at McGill University has lately published a book simply entitled, Managing. In a recent interview on the subject, he commented:
The narcissistic view of leadership [as the primary focus] has taken organisations off the rails. Leadership isn't better than management...I want people to realize that one component of management is leadership but there are lots of other components - information, action, how you involve yourself, how you connect, and all sorts of things.
The grand final of The Apprentice Australia provides a brilliant illustration of his point. In fact I think the most apt comment on management that sums up this week's episode is the following:

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.
~ Paul Hawken (environmentalist, journalist entrepreneur)

Episode review - the Final Challenge

I've previously written about the Battle inside your Brain in which the emotional (limbic) and the rational (cortical) centres of your brain vie for control over your behaviours and actions.

I'm going to use that same concept to talk about the performance and behaviour of the three finalists, offering an interpretation of how each one's limbic Emotional Reactive style (ER's, also sometimes known as Survival Strategies) interplays and battles with his/her Adult Rational Type (ART).

Gavin's elimination
When asked what motivated him to want to be the apprentice, the pressure got the better of him and Gavin answered from his Emotional Reactive style as Performer/Achiever* by essentially saying how he wanted to succeed, to achieve and to have lots of money.

By contrast, Gavin has previously shown that he is master of the ART* of diplomacy, genuine charm and building relationships with people. Had his ART won the Battle inside his Brain, he might have said something like, "Mr. Bouris, I relish the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of people and help make them a success working together. I want to apply my knowledge of the law and my experience to build a business alongside you, where I'll be learning the things that I don't yet know about the business world from someone who's been there and done it successfully."

Gavin did not answer this way, and so it was obvious when the Boss revealed only two candidates were welcome on the final ride that Gavin would be the one to leave. His focus on his own personal success and achievement was noted and complimented, but he was eliminated because he failed to use his ART and show that he was a team player. Mark Bouris' final comment: "Gavin, we always get the best out of you, but you haven't gotten the best out of your teammates."

Why Heather lost
In the Boardroom Heather has consistently done a poor job presenting herself and giving clear reasons why she should be hired. At the start of this episode she rhymed off a list of adjectives about herself...but did not link them to any benefits. Moreover, many the things she affirmed were empty words that clearly don't reflect her actual performance to date.

I think this shows a pronounced lack of self-awareness. Her response to critical feedback (both in the past and later on in this episode) has not indicated a willingness to take the lesson; it's been self-justifying, flustered, defensive. These are both indicators of her Emotional Reactive style, the Perfectionist*. Faced with stressors and threats to her self-image that her limbic brain literally reads as life-or-death, Heather's Survival Strategy is to always be in control, always be right.

It wasn't always like this. Early days, Heather made frequent reference to ethics and integrity. At her best, then, her facility with the ART* of integrity, high standards and setting a clear course of action ought to have encouraged straight dealing in a team that's following a clear vision. Instead, victory in the Battle inside her Brain went too often to Heather's Perfectionist ER.

Context: granted, during this challenge Heather had to manage a team of the three most recent departees from the show (Sabrina, Mary-Anne and Gavin); granted, Sabrina had neither forgotten nor forgiven her previous differences with Heather, while Mary-Anne was true to type and swift to condemn Heather's decisions. The fact remains that neither Sabrina nor Mary-Anne had such bad blood towards Morello. That animosity had to have come from somewhere.

We got a reminder early in this task of where that animosity might have come from, as Heather reverted to a take-charge-and-keep-control style. As a result the atmosphere in Team Eventus was rancorous from the very start and only worsened as Heather progressively alienated her team over the course of the task. Despite this, in the Boardroom Heather claimed that in this task she had "let go of that stranglehold of control" that she'd previously insisted upon. I think her Perfectionist ER had her in such a grip, had made her so un-self-aware, that she genuinely believed that was the case.

The key moment of insight came when Heather said, "this task is about me winning the job as Apprentice." At that point it was clear to me that she would lose. She had misunderstood the nature of the task - the outcome of the task was the winner would become the apprentice, but the task itself was about managing a team of people to deliver an outcome - a task that she had failed virtually from the outset.

Heather's primary focus of being in control and being right was also in evidence when she several times expressed her motivation: "I will prove a lot of people wrong," and "I have so much to prove."

And so in the end we did see her passion, determination and desire to win. Her personal performance was impressive. As Brad Seymour commented, "she was an absolute machine - across about fourteen different tasks all at once!" He also observed: "a little more trust wouldn't have gone amiss." The verdict: Heather is a brilliant performer but not a team player and was ultimately unable to manage others. Mark Bouris' final analysis:
You get the job done, you're not out there for a popularity contest...but whilst you might get the job done, sometimes you leave a little bit of carnage behind, there's some hurt might get the job done this time and in this challange, but in my game you've got to show up again the next day and the next day - everybody's got to work together.
Noting her lack of self-awareness and self-management, Mark Bouris asked her point-blank: "is it possible during the task that, in the moment you don't read it?" Meaning: you don't see the effect you're having on others, the chaos and carnage that's resulting? Asked further: "could you do what Morello does, sit down and hash it through with everyone?" Heather said, "Absolutely."

Yet she missed noticing the need to do it, missed noticing the effect it was having in the team she was meant to be managing, missed the point of the task itself...and for all these things she was judged as not up to the role of National Business Development manager - which I think was the right call.

Heather's only chance to win would have been to engage more in her ART of engaging others to rally behind a cause and lay out clearly the task at hand; instead her merciless Perfectionist ER caused her to do it all herself and alienate not only her team but The Boss as well.

Why Morello won
In his own words, "I was myself from week 1 to week 10." True to form, Morello employed his ART*, showing himself once again to be a Practical Problem Solver with a Democratic leadership style. He was happy to delegate responsibility to others, his teammates held him in high esteem and were pulling for his success, resulting in great team spirit and camaraderie.

Morello deftly managed the high-energy and strong-willed Carmen by matching her energy levels and steering her drive in positive, productive activity. He'd made good mates of Sam and Lynton from living in the Apprentice house together and while he sought their input, his was the ultimate say as project lead.

Where it nearly fell down for Morello was in moments of excitement and high energy, when his Emotional Reactive style of Adventurer/Fun-seeker got the better of him. When the Battle in his Brain tipped in favour of limbic response, he was constantly throwing out new/ bigger/better/more ideas for how things could be a show, a lot of fun, entertaining for all involved! In the Boardroom assessment he got his knuckles rapped for engaging in too much theatre and having just too many stories/themes/ideas going at the same time. Learning how to "know when to say when" will be useful discipline for this new Apprentice.

RWA - Effective Management

Morello succeeded because he was able to take his team through the Six Steps of Effective Management:
  1. "Lay down the law." - It would seem that he clarified the roles, goals and expectations so that each person's individual efforts are contributing to the group objectives and goals. Doing this at the outset provides an underlying source of enduring continuity in the face of transition, change and even crisis periods to come.

  2. "Talk it through with them." - by encouraging expression, his team members had the chance to say what they think and feel. Free expression like this may well cause conflict. That's normal and necessary. What is required is an agreed way to deal constructively with such conflict. As we've seen too often on other Apprentice tasks, unexpressed emotional reactions do not go away but instead go underground to fester and bubble up in unproductive ways at inopportune moments.

  3. "We're going to make this big!" - With the emotional energy released in the previous step now ready to be put to practical use, this step answers the question "what's in it for me?" to tap into the passion and drive of each team member. This step is about getting things done, the achievement of aspirations.

  4. "Guys let's get together on this" - The previous step unleashed each person's self-interested passion and drive for results. Now is the time to ensure there is a personal connection so that internal competition does not tear the team apart. Morello's personality suggests a sense of personal commitment to build authentic relationships between team members, who as we saw this week gladly go the extra mile for him...and for each other.

  5. "Getting it done." - This step is about the actual step-by-step execution of the plans, adjusting resources, ensuring good information flow and adjusting on-the-fly to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

  6. "Here's the positive outcome." - Working with Morello you have no doubt that at the end of the task there's going to be celebration, a chance to talk about what people did well and highlighting contributions...all the kinds of things that look at the long term and serve to build lasting relationships.
By covering all six of these steps Morello unified his team with Effective Management. He was able to get his team members to do what he wanted them to do - because they wanted to do it and wanted him to win - and in the end he came out on top.

To find out more from tmc about the six steps of Effective Management and how to apply them in your own management style, contact me directly.

Your thoughts & opinions

I hope you've enjoyed this series of posts reviewing The Apprentice Australia. In this series I have enjoyed sharing my views on the candidates' personalities and behaviours, and sharing some of the tools/models that I use in my consultancy work to provide you with Real-World Applications.

Now the series is over, I'd love to hear your comments about the show, these posts, your experiences at work, or any other thoughts you'd like to share. Just click on Comments and you're ready to write!

*I will post an overview of the 9 Emotional Reactive ER styles in the near future, along with the 8 Adult Rational Types (ARTs). Watch this space!

Related previous posts:
Analysis of episode 1, RWA: Foundation & Force
Preview of episode 2, RWA: Conflict Management
Apprentice week 2 analysis, RWA: Giving/Receiving Feedback using Head & Heart
Apprentice week 3 analysis, RWAs: Team Leadership and Setting a Team Culture
Apprentice week 4 analysis, RWA: Coaching for high performance

Apprentice week 5 analysis, RWA: "The Relationship is the Customer"
Apprentice week 6 analysis, RWA: The FIT model
Apprentice week 7 analysis, RWA: Authentic Emotional Intelligence

Apprentice episode 8 preview: double trouble

Apprentice week 8 analysis, RWA: Effective Collaboration

Photo credit: Apprentice trio, Andrew Morello.



Anonymous said...

Hi Todd
It's been great to follow this show with your "real life" comments. It's been truly insightful and made me think more about how I approach the whole teamwork aspect in my position.

The big question is, of course, will there be a series 2? And a blog to go with it....?


Todd Montgomery said...

Hi Carmel,
Thanks for your feedback!

The idea to review the Apprentice series by applying the tools and methods that I use in my consulting practice actually first came to me when I was living in the UK and watching the Apprentice series there (with Sir Alan Sugar as Boss).

While following the series I noticed that I was able to accurately predict many of the candidates' reactions and the roles they slipped into. Seeing the human dynamics at play within each team, certain repetitive patterns emerged and I thought it would be useful to share those insights in the public domain.

I'm glad to hear you say it's been useful to you. In an interview Mark Bouris said he'd be up for another series and if it happens I'll certainly do another review!

A reader in Finland also said she wished someone would review the Finnish Apprentice...but as my Finnish is quite rudimentary I'll have to put that one on hold!