Anyone getting anxious about the “big decision” tonight on The Apprentice? The Donald was on the Today Show this morning talking about the show and Katie asked whether he had decided and he said he had an idea whom he would choose but it's still very open and he could change his mind. Well, I have made up my mind...Kwame gets the job.
OK, so as someone who basically identifies talent for a living, I am going to make my case for Kwame here. Let me tell you what I see in Kwame that makes him a HIRE:
1) Marketing talent. And Kwame's talent with marketing is different than others' on the show. You see Troy or Nick with really shiny, schmoozy sales savvy. I'm not going to even talk about the marketing talent of the Protégé Corporation in the first few episodes...let's just say that I found it a little disappointing. Anyhoo... if you look at Kwame, he markets to you without you even knowing you are being marketed to. He's positioned himself as the “smart, good guy that you want to win“. He doesn't have the ego that you would expect to go with his academic credentials. He's even managed to position himself as the underdog and you know how much the American viewing public loves the underdog...hope The Donald does too. (You could argue that Bill is the underdog, but Kwame did a better job of positioning himself). Check out the eye contact that he has with the camera, his peers and Donald...that kind of eye contact says “I'm a good guy...and you can trust me“
2) Not overly political. When he went to the board room and the mud slinging started, Kwame didn't get dirty. I heard someone say that he sit back and let the other competitors eliminate themselves. That he did. And a good manager (in my opinion...have you read my disclaimer?), does not get too involved in the politics of people jockeying for position. His position in the board room was not emotional (can't say that about too many of the others there, right?)
3) I think it was Mark Cuban last night who said “if you are going to make mistakes, make them early“. So Kwame's choice of the fish market to sell lemonade wasn't a great one. I think that was the first show, wasn't it? Despite this fact, he was chosen to lead projects 3 times during the course of the show
4) Lets good people do good work. This is what I love best about Kwame. The person The Donald hires does not need to be good at everything. What he needs to do is recognize the strengths of the people reporting to him and empower them to do their best work. Remember, Trump isn't hiring an entrepreneur (if he was, Bill would really have a good case). He's hiring someone to run an existing company. I've said many time “ know what you know and know what you don't know“. Kwame does this. He's focused on getting the job done. I also think this is where Bill falls down. Bill has a tendency to take over when things aren't going well instead of letting others work through them (in the interest of self disclosure, this is one of my weaknesses as well and is caused by impatience...and The Donald should definitely not hire me to run one of his companies...at least not yet)
5) His peers love him. Didn't see him getting into arguments with anyone. People follow charismatic leaders. They work for people they like. They want to help that person succeed.
6) As much as we wanted to see him let Omarosa have it last week, he didn't do it. I think this was very wise on his part. His focus was getting the job done and he didn't have the option of firing her. I think his decision was to do what would cause the least distraction to the rest of the team, so that they could move forward. And that is life. Sometimes, if you are required to work with people that are difficult and you really want to get things done, you have to work around them.
7) Harvard MBA. I know a Harvard MBA does not guarantee that Kwame is the best candidate. But at the very least, in my mind, it assures me that he is smart and that he works hard. Bill could be those things too, by the way. And of course, there are no guarantees that smart is enough to be the top candidate. I've often interviewed folks with great educational credentials that were not great in a work environment. But Kwame has proven himself to me.
I'm not saying that Kwame is going to win tonight...just that he should win. And I've got nothing against Bill. In fact, I am from Chicago and was in the Entrepreneur Program in college, so I can identify with him to some extent (I understand what makes Entrepreneurs tick). But if I had to hire one of these 2 candidates for the particular job that is open, I would select Kwame. Anyone want to make a case for Bill?
PS: Kwame, if you're out there and The Donald doesn't pick you tonight, call me!