ALTI's Apprentice Boardroom Report For 4/08/05 (Episode #12)

Practical Lessons From The Apprentice
Managers: Are You A Dictator or Mentor?

With seven candidates vying for a shot at becoming the next apprentice, the 12th episode of Mr. Trump's Apprentice Reality TV show asked his candidates to design a line ofwearable technology clothing for Gen X clothing retailer, American Eagle. 

Allan's 2¢
Why Alex Failed
running time 3:39

Game Analysis
Strategies for Episode Thirteen
running time 4:33
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Episode # 1 
(Burger King)
Episode # 2
(Hotel Renovation)
Episode # 3
(Nescafe Promo)
Episode # 4
(Dove Commercial)
Episode # 5
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Episode # 8
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(recap - no news)
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Episode # 11
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Episode # 12
(AE - Wearable Tech)
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Kudos goes to Magna's project manager Tana Goertz, 37, from Iowa for taking some time to get to a store and doing some market research just as Alex once did in his leadership of Magna Corp.'s win over Net Worth's Tara during the Playstation Graffiti episode (#6).  Apparently, the credit bestowed upon Alex Thomason, 29, for seeking out his market must have been more luck than skill since he did not replicate the process as project manager to his new team, Net Worth.  Even the Donald accused Alex of becoming a "loser".

--- SIDEBAR ---
There is much more to say so please listen to my audio analysis of why Alex failed and why Angie was fired. Also hear a few tips of what you can do to help keep yourself out of the boardroom. 

Though we saw the final touches to Magna's products ruined with shoddy screen printing, we also saw Angie take on more than she could handle and choke in giving the teams critical presentation. The practical lesson of tonight's episode that you can apply to your business is:

What Is Delegation, And How Can You Get Better At It?
Each team is required to elect or appoint a project manager.  Essentially, the team is agreeing to allow one person to lead, plan, and organize the overall effort of the team and become subordinate to their elected or appointed leader.  The project manager, in addition to needing solid leadership skills must also demonstrate sound delegation skills, (and while the two are similar, they are different). Read the lesson on leadership here.

Your Turn... Have you taken away any valuable lessons from watching The Apprentice?  
I'd like to hear your feedback. Just call the Apprentice Feedback voice mail line (800) 598-1338 ext. 9915 or email
If you make a good point you could be featured in this newsletter. 


There are 12 steps to effective delegation and 7 Levels of Delegation.

Seven levels of delegation
Delegation is the balance between the use of authority and freedom permitted to manage. The work of Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1958) and Sadler (1970) They provide a continuum for leadership and involvement that includes an increasing role for employees and a decreasing role for supervisors in the decision process.

1. "Wait to be told." or "Do exactly what I say." - No delegation at all.


2. "Look into this and tell me what you come up with. I'll decide." - This is asking for investigation and analysis but no recommendation.


3. "Give me your recommendation, and the other options with the pros and cons of each. I'll let you know whether you can go ahead." - Asks for analysis and recommendation, but you will check the thinking before deciding.


4. "Decide and let me know your decision, but wait for my go ahead." - The other person needs approval but is trusted to judge the relative options.


5. "Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to." - Now the other person begins to control the action. The subtle increase in responsibility saves time.


6. "Decide and take action, but let me know what you did." - Saves more time. Allows a quicker reaction to wrong decisions, not present in final level.


7. "Decide and take action. You need not check back with me." - The most freedom that we can give to the other person. A high level of confidence is necessary, and needs good controls to ensure mistakes are flagged. 

Tannenbaum, R. and Schmidt, W. How to Choose a Leadership Pattern
Harvard Business Review, 1958, 36, 95-101.

Alan Chapman, Delegating Authority Skills, Tasks and the Process of Effective Delegation. 1995-2005

12 steps to effective delegation


1. Define The Task

Evaluate that the task is suitable to be delegated.


2. Selecting The Right Individual

Delegation is for one of two reasons: This person is best qualified and can deliver the best results…OR…The person will benefit from the learning experience.


3. Inform The Individual

Provide the “big picture” so the employee can see how the project fits into the overall operation.   Don’t keep information from your employee.  Determine the parameters that will establish the project a “success”.


4. Delegate The Entire Job

Although the ultimate responsibility lies with you be certain to delegate the entire task or project.  This will peak the individual’s interest and provide a deeper sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when completed.


5. Focus On Results, Not On Process 

Delegate responsibility, not work.  Many managers confuse delegating responsibility with offloading work onto someone else.  When assigning a project, allow the employee the freedom to exercise some personal initiative where appropriate. Focus on what you want, not how to do it, (unless the process is a requirement).  Let him/her develop the methodology for how to achieve the goal. 


6. Consider Required Resources

Discuss and agree what is required to get the job done. Consider people, location, premises, equipment, money, materials, other related activities and services.


7. Agree On Deadlines

When must the job be finished? Or if an ongoing duty, when are the review dates? When are the reports due? And if the task is complex and has parts or stages, what are the priorities?


8. Set Up Status Reviews

Methods of checking and controlling must be agreed with the other person. Failing to agree on this in advance will cause your monitoring to seem like interference or lack of trust. This is a win-win for both of you. It's easier for you to let go knowing you'll be kept in the loop, and your newly empowered team member will take the ball and run with it knowing they have a specific opportunities to seek your guidance.

9. Support And Communicate

Make certain that others know that you’ve given the responsibility and authority to that individual, and that they area accountable for producing the results. Involve your delegatee in considering this so they can see beyond the issue at hand. Do not leave the person to inform his/her own peers of their new responsibility.


10. Provide Positive And Constructive Feedback

Do not focus on what is wrong, but rather on what can be done to make it better.   “It looks like there's a problem here. What do you need to do to get back on track?”  Offer guidance and advice without interfering.  Point out the roadblocks they may encounter. 


11. Keep The Ball In Their Court

Don’t let them delegate back to you.  If someone brings a problem to you, you can listen without assuming responsibility for solving the problem. Don’t revert to old habits and take control of problems that arise. Instead, take the opportunity to teach your team member how to handle the issue him or herself and then let them do it. Only interfere in case of crisis or serious risk of loss of a client, otherwise, provide the room to make mistakes


12. Give Full Credit And Recognition
Don’t take the credit yourself.  If your employee is unsuccessful, take the brunt of the blame yourself rather than using him/her as a scapegoat.  If the employee has not developed their skills fully enough to accomplish the task, you as the manager can assume the responsibility for that. Learn from the experience so you can more effectively delegate the next time.

Shameless Plug: 
Do you find it difficult to delegate? Do you think only you can do an adequate job?  Are you so busy working "in" your business that you never get to work "on" your business?

ALTI Consulting and our team of specialists can work with you to find your inner mentor, prioritize projects and set effective delegation management systems. To get started give us a call or shoot us an e-mail for ONE free hour of complimentary consultation. (206) 984-9560 or

Feedback From Last Week

Charlie Hall - Alexander, Virginia:
Alan, I enjoy reading your newsletter every Friday morning.  I found your potpourri of tips in last weeks newsletter to be very informative, I feel like I am getting apprentice coaching and entertainment at the same time.  Thanks for your insights, Go Kendra!

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