I’d hire Kwame….

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!

Comments (18)

  1. brady gaster says:

    Reason #8 – He’s from my hometown of Charlotte, NC!

  2. I’ve already posted my thoughts about this (http://www.ensight.org/archives/2004/04/15/apprentice_finale_thoughts.html).

    While my money’s on Bill to win, I do think Kwame is a better candidate, just that his weaknesses (I think) are more likely to be disastrous in this particular competition.

  3. I’ve got to say that Kwame is probably the best choice as well. I like Bill and all, but Kwame’s got the credentials, etc etc. I also agree with #1 in that he does market to you when you don’t even know it.

  4. Jesse Ezell says:

    I Kwame is worthless. I’m rooting for Bill.

  5. Bill has ran a company before, Kwame has not – that will be the deciding factor.

  6. gretchen says:

    It’s Kwame all the way, for me. But I disagree with your #6 point. I think his not firing Omarosa when she blatantly lied to him might be his un-doing. Tonightโ€™s decision will not be based on bottom-line profit or ROI like the other episodes. Itโ€™s going to be based on the personโ€™s leadership skills. And Kwame should have fired Omarosa, IMO. (Some suspect she was told to lie to test Kwame.) If I were The Donald, I would not like how he handled that situation.

  7. Heather says:

    Gretch-I don’t think he was allowed to fire Omarosa. THat was my (poorly made) point there ; )

    Jesse-you are not convincing me…

    Keith-I’m going to disagree with you, but in the end, The Donald might agree with you. If the candidate were to run an existing enterprise of some size, I’d think that his lieutenants need to know how to run a company, but the person really needs to know how to manage the people running the company. Plus, Bill running a Cigar mail-order business or whatever it is, is probably no big deal realtive to what The Donald would have him do. It’s the difference between a CEO and an entrepreneur.

    Anyone know what company Trump would be giving the person to run? I think I remember them saying, but I don’t recall.

    Did you all hear that he hired Amy after the taping of the episodes? I think she’s good but does interview poorly. Probably not strong at engaging with senior execs, but she’ll learn.

  8. gretchen says:

    Oh, I bet he could do anything he wanted. I mean, she was his "employee." But we shall see. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I was under the impression he said "I wish I could fire her" or something to that effect as well…

    Anyways, I’m half wondering if the winner won’t be in charge of Trump Ice ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. zoe says:

    Okay – jumping on the Kwame band wagon here. I think he has to win! The winners get to run a portion of his corporation and make $250k a year. Now that is a prize worth winning ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. gretchen says:

    See, told ya so. I’m sorry Kwame lost, but I feared he blew his chance with the Omarosa situation … and he did. ๐Ÿ™ That woman is evil.

  12. Heather says:

    OK, I am so bummed. Well, just goes to show you how much impact a bad hiring decision can have. Hmm, think I’ll blog more on that later.

  13. I refuse to smirk ๐Ÿ˜‰


    Seriously, they’re both great candidates. They each have a weakness, but by the end of last night’s show I thought Bill deserved to win. I was really happy for him when I saw him jumping around and that look of pure joy when he pulled away in the Crossfire.

    Maybe next season we should start a blogosphere pool on who wins?

  14. ThomasC22 says:

    I love when people talk about the Apprentice ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with Jeremy, I thought that Kwame got what he deserved by the end of things. My main problem with Kwame was that, although it is good to trust your team and get out of their way, there’s something to be said for double checking every once and a while.

    Bottom line, Great Managers trust their employees but they also make sure the job gets done…as an example, ask yourself this: How much effort would it have taken for Kwame to call the kitchen the night before and confirm that everything was set up?

    For that matter, what would Kwame have done if he had been in Bill’s place when the sign turned up missing?

    Don’t get me wrong, in a normal situation I’d probably hire both Kwame and Bill if I were Donald Trump (I half expected him to offer Kwame the Golf Course at the end) but in the context of the contest I think the right man won in the end.

  15. Heather says:

    I was wondering myself whether The DOnald would give Kwame the other job. I bet that Kwame has opportunitites outside of the Trump empire that are actually much better anyway. That golf course project didn’t sound too exciting to me. They said they were opening in August so it seems like this would be the tail end of the project and not as much.

    Also, being that I lived much of my adult life in Chicago, I’ve got to say that the new Trump building that they are putting up where the Sun-Times building is/was really does not go well with the Chicago architecture. It looks like a building from New York but in Chicago. But that is just my opinion. Can’t blame Bill for wanting to stay in Chicago. It’s such an awesome city. I would have stayed except I coulnd’t stand the winters and, well, Microsoft called.

  16. ThomasC22 says:

    Donald Trump put something up that’s tacky and out of place? I’m shocked! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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