Why Sugar Didn't Fire the Project Manager

Gripping stuff. Alan Sugar mulling over who to fire last night had me on tenterhooks.

If you missed it, I’ll summarise; the two teams had a budget of £13K along with their own creativity and acumen to envisage and implement a concept though decoration and furniture that would entice the wealthy to spend above the expected chi-ching on a 5 star hotel room.

As a side note, I do struggle to see how an interior design task, with rudimentary budget skill requirements, can raise a candidate to the degree required to become the yeast of the mighty Sugar Loaf.

But my point here, is quite different. In fact, beautifully so.

I have often found the modern business world to be far too similar to shows like The Apprentice. Unaccountability seems to be a given these days. And if you are never to blame for anything then obviously you are putting the blame elsewhere. To do that effectively you need to nurture a sense of righteousness & entitlement and become adept at manipulation. And if you are spending so much time and energy on portraying yourself in a certain way, and always ready to deflect the blame should it come your way . . then what energy do you have to do what you’re actually supposed to be doing?

So I found it stupidly refreshing that the Project Manager of the losing team held his hand up to the rather daft assumption that they could sell their room for £750 a night. And I mean out of the blue! This guy just owned it.

Not only that, he stopped Sugar in his tracks after frequent interruptions to respectfully stand his ground. I’ve rarely seen that before and never delivered with such justified gravity.

To be clear, both teams were crap on this task. One room looked like ill-judged student digs, the other a 90’s hospital day room. .  So no one excelled, but neither did anyone particularly shit it.

I was on the edge of my seat, hoping Alan Sugar would come through; to respect the bloke for what these days are viewed as ‘old fashioned’ values and practises. And I am really blummin’ chuffed that he did.

He was the PM, normally he’d be in the taxi. But he wasn’t, and I would like to think it was mainly due to the reasons above.

Perhaps it gives us all hope, that once again the business world can shave off the shiny veneer and gauge the wood underneath.

In the meantime, and whatever else he does on The Apprentice, hats off to you Ross Fretten.