It was kids’ week on the Apprentice. The task was to create a new animated cartoon for two to four-year-olds with one candidate destined for the naughty chair. Reece Donnelly, who runs a children’s theatre company, should have been the perfect project manager for this task. You would have thought he would have known something about storytelling, characterisation and how to engage kids.
However, it was dismal at every level. Their cartoon resembled something cooked up by the Inside No. 9 team, the vibe of their “Wise Owl” animated episode or Legz Akimbo Children’s Theatre company.
The sub-team were so busy squabbling over whether a character in a wheelchair should be called Faye or Fi-fi, that they forgot to give their characters any hands of feet. This meant that their happy, hand-clapping game looked more like they were competing in a paralympics Tae Kwon Do.
The expert panel grimaced. Simba Rwambiwa tried valiantly to appeal to higher values, this wasn’t just a naff cartoon, no, it represented “gateways to a better world, gateways to a brighter world, gateways to opportunities, and these characters resonate with the message of truth and utter kindness!” Any moment he looked like he was about to start singing “We are the world”.
However, given that Reece had just bare-faced lied about the missing limbs cock-up, perhaps Simba’s call to honesty and integrity needed to be answered by his team-mate first.
Meanwhile on the other team, something rather miraculous happened. They produced a rather good piece of work. Avi Sharma did well just by standing back and letting Marnie Swindells and Dani Donavan get on with it. He also diplomatically manoeuvured Shazia Hussain out of the pitch team without too much fuss, no small achievement in itself. The team had its challenges but they were on the whole respectful and collaborative. This was in contrast to Reece’s team who despite chanting earlier about the importance of kindness, saw gentle Gregory Ebbs as an easy victim to frame because he was unlikely to fight back.
Charm and generosity of spirit seems to be a vastly underrated skill in the world of the Apprentice. However, in the real world, if people enjoy doing business with you, feel that you’re not going to stiff them, then as long as you’re competent, you’re likely to do well. Let’s hope that Greg doesn’t change and that maybe we all become a little more Greg!