The Apprentice 2011Jim Eastwood is in the last six. �After a rocky start, he’s been involved in some strong wins.

Last week I looked in depth at Melody, Tom and Helen. �This week, I want to focus on Jim, Susan and Natasha.

Jim �acquired the nickname “Jedi Jim” among commentators for his early abilities to influence candidates and bystanders alike. �Let’s study this in more detail.

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Jim Eastwood

Jim Eastwood

Jim Eastwood on LinkedIn

I notice that Jim is already advertising himself as “Jim Eastwood, Public Speaker”, so I need to declare an interest here. �As a professional speaker, we’re competitors! �And we both specialise in “influence” too!

Jim claims impressive academic business qualifications (MBA from Pfeiffer University, N Carolina and Harvard’s�Leaders for Tomorrow program) yet comes across as a real pragmatist. �His business experience is in marketing and sales, most recently with prestigious printers, W&G Baird.

Jim is based in Northern Ireland, but he has clearly popped across the border to kiss the Blarney Stone.

From Wikipedia: The word�blarney has come to mean “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk”

Eloquence and more

Jim is an eloquent speaker who comes across as being very personable. �People like him and he can quickly build rapport. �I was taken by the time in Episode 3, when Jim was negotiating to buy a chunk of meat. �He reached a good deal with the butcher, then got an extra �10 concession from the cashier! �Other candidates seem to like Jim and some (remember Vincent?) seem particularly drawn to him. �There must be a certain charisma.

Jim’s ability to influence team mates has attracted the epiphet “Jedi Jim” from the “You’re Fired” follow-up TV show. �Nick Hewer has even�described Jim �as “creepy”, due to the over-use of his charm:�“What a handful! I do not find him as charming as he thinks he is and I wish he would stop talking about his Irish charm because I’m finding it a bit spooky,” he said.

But I don’t think Jim has all of the power he might think. �In Episode 7, he said:��I can take their hearts. I can take their minds.� I commented then:

I think that as the field strengthens,
manipulation will be increasingly harder anyway.
Jim is about to face some real tests.

In Episode 9, we saw Jim mellow in the way he handled his focus group, but we also saw a strong rapport with team-mate Helen – a fine ally to have. �He didn’t use his charm to draw Natasha along with him, however. �Is this an old rivalry, a new tactical positioning (to out-group Natasha) or a failure to see the need or be able to achieve the deed?

Blarney: Beyond “clever, flattering and coaxing”

Jim has stretched his style in two unsavoury directions: to manipulate colleagues and to deceive buyers. �In last week’s Episode 9, he raised Lord Sugar’s eyebrows, with his unscripted and un-budgeted commitment to Asda to offer massive advertising and promotional activities around Venture’s “Special Stars” biscuit brand. �Lord Sugar valued his offer at �20-30 million of promotional spend – predicated on… nothing. �If you spend enough on advertising, then supermarkets will order anything, and the gambit won Venture an 800,000 unit order and Helen’s record-setting ninth consecutive win.

But I have already described this gambit as deceitful. Lord Sugar was a little more sanguine, because he thought the product was good, but described Jim’s�promise of millions of pounds of ad-buying and movie tie-ins as winning the BBIW award for��Biggest Bull**** in the World�.

How does Jim do it?

Jim’s techniques are not some form of Jedi mind control, nor even very difficult. �They can be summed up in seven points:

  1. Build rapport. �Take an interest in the person you are talking with, show you like them, and
    listen to their point of view. �Use charm and flattery to enhance people’s liking for you.
  2. Be clear what you want, and politely ask for it. �Negotiators should always ask for a final concession.
  3. Be confident and stand your ground. �Keep your emotional register pretty flat. �This way,
    you come across as credible and authoritative.
  4. Give the impression that you know something others don’t – to intimidate them from taking risks.
    “Don’t you think that…”
  5. Give a single clear reason in support of your argument.
  6. Do people favours by supporting them and by conceding minor points, so they owe you a favour in return.
    This works in negotiations and on a team level. �Call in those favours soon after.
  7. Harness your supporters to create an alliance against anyone who disagrees – then isolate them.

The Conclusion about Jim

Jim is a strong contender, with good business instincts and a fierce determination. �He describes himself as resilient and the evidence from the shows supports this. He also seems to be learning and evolving, which is good for him, because his greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. Melody describes herself as a communications expert and she is good on �platform. But Jim is excellent one-to-one and his ability to influence is a huge strength. It could also pose his greatest threat, if he no does not use it with integrity. �Getting caught on a lie that Lord Sugar considers material will be fatal, and overt manipulation will make enemies. �If he can rein in the excesses of his style; he can win.

More Apprentice

Brilliant Influence, by Mike ClaytonTo learn more about the skills and science of influence, take a look at my book,
Brilliant Influence: What the most influential people know, do and say.

�Mike presents an excellent summary of how to
influence with integrity;�he skilfully raises the reader�s
awareness and�provides�pragmatic,
easy to follow steps to�achieving brilliant influence.�

Julian Badcock, Partner, Inpoint (An Aon Company)

 

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