The Apprentice 2011

Natasha Scribbins is in the last six. For me, she has been the hardest of the six to write about.

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

Natasha has rarely been the focus for The Apprentice’s producers and editors, so it makes it hard to see what qualities have kept her in the game so long. �Unlike her fellow contenders in the last six, Natasha does not come across as a strong candidate with a fatal flaw to address, so I want to ask:

Is Natasha’s survival more than just luck?

Natasha Scribbins

Natasha Scribbins

Natasha Scribbins on LinkedIn

Lord Sugar has, on a number of occasions, �referred to Natasha as working in the construction industry. �Her experience has been in construction and engineering recruitment, following a degree in international management.

If I were bold enough to try and predict the show’s progress from day one, I might have concluded that, on paper, Natasha is one of the weaker candidates: no stunning academic achievements, no entrepreneurial experience of starting her own business, little staff management responsibility and no work on developing or promoting products.

I might even note that Natasha has rarely shone in the first nine episodes, but she has been tenacious and contributed well. �She has been in the winning team five out of nine times – and won as project manager. �Of her four losses, she went into the boardroom twice, though one time she did not return, Lord Sugar described her as “lucky”: did that mean he was hoping to fire her?

The Role of Luck

There is clearly a role for luck in The Apprentice: Lord Sugar can only fire you if you are in the losing team and if your PM brings you into the boardroom. �This means that lack-lustre performances that are not instrumental in a loss can leave Lord Sugar unimpressed but unable to fire you. �As the game nears the end, Lord Sugar must split the weakest candidataes between the teams so he has someone to fire, whoever wins.

Tomorrow, all of the members of the losing team will be in the boardroom. �The only chance of survival for a weak candidate is to be in the winning team.

Just do it

Natasha claims to admire Nke, in her BBC 100 word biog “An avid fitness fanatic, Natasha is inspired by the Nike brand for their representation of women in sport“. �She certainly seems to get on with her roles in a task and seems to focus deeply on whatever she is doing. �Perhaps her two most memorable moments were:

  • Episode 5, directing the better pet food advert of the two and therefore surviving the boardroom when Logic lost.
  • Episode 7, when Natasha led Logic to victory as editor of a unashamed lads’ mag.

If we ignore the possibility that her calling is the creative sector, both of these episodes showed one aspect of Natasha’s personality very clearly: her ability to immerse herself completely in a role. �In each role – director and editor – she became the part, focused 100 per cent and, more worrying was able to shut herself off from all advice and criticism. �In each case, her judgement also appeared sound: she produced the better advert and a winning – though distasteful – magazine.

Her judgement has been right on other occasions, but she does not seem to get on well with some of the other candidates. Again, editing may be responsible, but her wise advice to Helen in Episode 9 fell on deaf ears – although, maybe Jim’s subtle influence was equally to blame.

The Conclusion about Natasha

In the previous five blogs about the last six candidates, I have found a lot to admire in the candidate, and a fatal flaw that they need to address if they are to win. �If I am honest, I cannot see Natasha winning. �After nine years in construction recruitment, I get a sense of someone who has found a role she is extremely good at and focused on it. �Immersion is, I suspect, what Natasha does and she is good at it. �I do not, however, see the breadth of capabilities that Lord Sugar will need in someone starting her own business.

Unless Natasha’s business proposition is a construction recruitment business, this seems a real stretch, and does she have the personality and breadth of experience to flit successfully from one aspect of the business to the next as she grows it?

She will need to convince on more than just some good judgement, but on planning, selling, marketing, administration, people menagement, … �If she could convince Lord Sugar that she does, she can win.


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