This was an exciting episode featuring the sourcing of raw materials (“the catch of the day”), the development of a product (arancini balls anyone?) and sales negotiations. We also got to see some of our favourite candidates wearing hairnets and learned how to gut a fish.
The teams were headed up by Alex, who led Infinity, and Harpreet who led Diverse. The winning team was determined by the amount of profit earned. Sub teams went off to Cornwall to catch the fish and prepare and sell dishes on a market stall, the others stayed in London to prepare and sell fish to 5 star hotel buyers. So many fish puns were made along the way it has been dif-fin-cult to find fresh ones for this blog.
Let’s round up on this week’s learnings
- That you don’t always have to say Yes
Alex’s fate was foreshadowed by Harpreet in the cab on the way to the task briefing when talking about who would be the next Project Manager. “I think we need to follow Lord Sugar’s advice – don’t volunteer if you’ve got no experience. It’s a recipe for disaster”. Poor Alex was stitched up like a kipper by Amy who pointed out that his experience and skillset – in the world of commercial cleaning – was highly relevant to the task. Saying No at work is never easy, but it is possible and can be done in a positive way. Being firm and straightforward (“I do not have the experience and this would jeopardise the success of the team”) and offering a lifeline (“Catherine has offered, so let’s give her the opportunity”) is the way forward.
- The importance of a clear and measurable understanding of customer requirements
When they went to sell their fish to the 5 Star hotels, team Diverse received a very clear brief from their customer about the requirements. He specified the exact quantity required, that the fish must be skinned on both sides, fins off, roe out, and that he would not accept a delivery after 10am. Team Infinity’s customer was vaguer – so not only did the team fail to ask him to expand on his comment “as long as the prep is okay”, they also failed to specify the delivery time. The Five Ws and One H technique (asking What, Why, When, How, Where and Who) can be a helpful way to establish the basics. Lean Six Sigma and Agile afishionados are very good at establishing requirements in a clear, specific and measurable way.
- That blank moments happen, but can be avoided
Poor Alex floundered (boom!) in sales negotiations and not only failed to understand requirements fully but also completely forgot to mention that his team had fresh crab to sell (and plenty of it!). Interesting that later in the boardroom, a snarky comment was made by Lord Sugar about Akshay’s Three Pillars. This referenced his way of focussing the team on the guiding principles of the brand being developed when he was PM in the Cruise Ship task. As we can only hold three or four things in our conscious brain at once, this was actually a very helpful focussing technique. Our memories don’t work as well when we’re under pressure so simple techniques like breaking things into a manageable number of chunks (like the three pillars) would have helped the team remember their purpose. Visualisation or creating a rhyme can also help focus our memories. Or using a notebook.
Management Speak of the Week
“Describe it to me in three words” – Akshay.
Quite a neat way to obtain a quick understanding of something you don’t know anything about. It relies on a neat answer though. Here he was asking what crab tasted like. The two unhelpful words he received in response: “fishy” and “meaty”.
Ones to Watch?
Francesca did a great job as Sub Team Lead for Diverse. She proved to be an able fisherwoman and gave clear instructions to Nick and Aaron when preparing the fish tacos.
In episode five the teams will be creating a video came. Can’t wait find out who will meet xboxtations, and which candidate will be left to console themselves.