We supported SHL to run a compliant collective consultation process, following the need to...
This week the teams were tasked with designing a toothbrush for 6-8 year olds, and an app to encourage kids to brush their teeth properly. What could possibly go wrong?
The boys’ obsession with brown and green, that’s what. The cynical part of me thinks that PM Aaron was fed the wizard idea on purpose – just so that the team would come with another poop-y 💩 looking brand.
On paper, I actually liked the wizarding world theme but, it was poorly executed. And how the boys thought that green and brown was the way to go after last week’s disaster is beyond me. Not only that, but they call the wizard Wiffy! None of them seemed to have heard the word ‘whiffy’ before. What!? Is this what it feels like to be old?
Aaron told his sub team to keep it simple, and unisex. Led by Conor, they couldn’t think of any way to represent a wizard, either than as a girl or a boy, so boy wizard it was. Nick used his accounting skills to get creative with the focus group numbers and argued with the potential clients over how popular their product would be with customers.
Meanwhile, the girls seemed to me to have the inferior overall product, but at least managed to stick to a unisex brand. I felt sorry for Shama, again. She continues to be repeatedly shot down by the bolshier members of the group. Francesca sold herself as PM and pushed her orange agenda again (keen viewers may remember she advocated for orange in the branding last week).
The girls’ sub team ignored Francesca’s direction to keep it simple – perhaps it was her confusing acronym. ‘Girls, just before we run off, we’re all a team, and TEAM means Everyone Achieves More When We’re All Working Together’…so, less TEAM, more EAMWWAWT…hmm. 🤔
The different approaches within the teams were interesting. The girls couldn’t get enough of criticising each other – the branding is babyish, the app is confusing, the toothbrush design isn’t what was asked for, the design idea was too boring.
The boys on the other hand praised one another’s terrible ideas with proverbial slaps on the back (did anyone spot the cringe moment Nick put his hand in the middle for a team huddle and was left hanging?), and didn’t really point fingers at each other until the boardroom.
Given the valid criticisms raised within the team, when the girls heard these repeated by potential clients, they were open to adjusting anything the client didn’t like. The boys on the other hand were defensive and immovable.
The girls won the task, securing themselves 11,000 orders versus the boys zero. It was Aaron who sealed the boys’ fate – stating the client’s description of their toothbrush as a ‘turd’ to be ‘good feedback’, but refusing to change the design. ‘Brown is wand colour’ – it’s also the colour that lost you last week’s task pal.
In the boardroom
In the boardroom, Lord Sugar asked Navid why he hadn’t told the boys at the time that their design looked like a turd? But Navid saw what happened to mouthy Harry last week – who can blame him for not putting his head above the parapet?
Ultimately it was Conor who took the fall, and I think rightly so. Despite all of the feedback he said their app was better than the girls’, and he just couldn’t see that there could have been a way to make the design unisex. Aaron saved himself - he admitted he was wrong and he said he was embarrassed with the product.
The lesson for employers?
Aaron eventually did what the girls did earlier in the task – and what any employer would expect of an underperforming employee. Accept the feedback you’re given, focus on the areas of improvement and turn things around. If Aaron can avoid another brown and green fiasco next week, he might restore Lord Sugar’s faith in him. And if not? Well, employers shouldn’t take after Lord Sugar’s preferred method of exiting the under-performers, but setting expectations, targets and timelines are all part of the performance management picture.
Next week the teams will be mixed, and making their own drinks. Non-alcoholic, so we’re safe from seeing any Guinness and absinthe mixtures.