The Apprentice, Series 10 Episode 6: Playing the Game …

Lord Sugar’s intro voiceover continues to announce his roles as “Judge , jury and executioner”. Given that 11 contestants are still breathing, it feels like he’s been slacking. Pamela is practising her already advanced sarcasm skills, and Nick H and Karren are still wearing their oddly dated sunglasses. I half expect a few tunes from The Blues Brothers, but instead we get the shortest task briefing I can recall. Apart from the possibly dubious claim that HMS Belfast inspired the game Battleships, this consists of ‘you’re going to design, prototype and sell board games’. Bish bosh, job done, innit.

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The Apprentice Series 10 Episode 5: You’re Either on the Bus …

Was this episode entertaining? It depends what floats your boat, of course, but I think I cringed more at this than at any previous episode: I sincerely hope the BBC refunded the 45 tourists they were happy to film and broadcast having pretty dire days out. You can’t give someone 24 hours back, but surely they can stretch to £65? The candidates are fair game – they mostly earn any mockery that they attract – but in the wider world, where profit margins on foolish stunts are less important than dignity, the punters deserve more respect.

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The Apprentice Series 10 Episode 4: Vlogging a Dead Horse

Today, they’re off to the East End to see something over 150 years old that’s looking a little shabby. No, you heartless beasts - the building: Wilton’s Music Hall. In his Entrepreneur of the Opera capacity, Lord S appears on stage, waving a smartphone and explaining why he’s standing in what appears to be a festering heap: because eyeballs on YouTube channels sell advertising. Old toot for moolah, innit. People half his age do their best to look suddenly enlightened.

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The Apprentice Series 10 Episode 3: Can Chinese custard cut the mustard?

In the same way that burger-flippers become Nutritional Delivery Executives, it transpires that scented candles are now known as Designer Home Fragrance Products. And, would you Adam and Eve it, these things are “all abaht high margins”. Well, I never. Some wax, a bit of pong and three inches of thin rope for £40, you say? Bargain, innit.

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The future’s bright, the future is …

As an employee, my main concern while reading PwC's The Future of work – a journey to 2022 report was not so much that the two other alternative worlds that it envisages as co-existing with a ‘Green’ scenario’ were less attractive (the Blue World represents an amped-up corporate world that I found reminiscent of the backdrop painted in the film Rollerball, while the Orange World combines organisational fragmentation and outsourcing with a hefty dose of networking and technology), but that the prevalence of opportunities to locate oneself in a specific world would most likely be arbitrary.

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Glass Ceiling? If only it were so simple

Is it too critical, or too nuanced, to suggest that it’s not just the visibility of female role models that is an issue ? Visibility – and more fundamentally, existence – is certainly important: the vast literature of leadership development and behavioural change provide endless examples of the power of modelling what you wish to create, rather than merely calling for or espousing it. Without role models, the idea that something is possible is far harder to grasp or conceive.

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Populating the tent

Promoting other people in your own image not only says something about your preferences, it says something – and not something particularly healthy – about your own self-image. Leadership depends not just on developing self-awareness, but on maintaining it – staying aware of your impact, of the impression you create, and your relationship to the changing world around you. (If you want a truly ghastly analogy here, consider the scene in Behind the Candelabra where Liberace produces a photograph of himself as guidance for the plastic surgeon hired to ‘re-model’ his partner. If you want to be adored, try being adorable. It’s cheaper and it leaves fewer scars – on everyone – although it does mean finding out what other people find attractive.)

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