Today we have a guess blogger. Motivational business trainer Viv Craske says that The Apprentice contestants have confused being ruthless with being good in business…


Vile. Cut-throat. Arrogant.

Three words you could use to describe a number of this year’s (and any year’s) contestants on The Apprentice.

I can only think of two reasons why The Apprentice contestants feel the need to come across as ruthless bullies:

1. They really are vile, cut-throat and arrogant.

2. They believe that being vile, cut-throat and arrogant are positive attributes that will endear them to Alan Sugar or any future employers and business partners.

As a specialist in motivation, I work with businesses to motivate their staff so that they love what they do without costly incentivisation or a ‘carrot and stick’ mentality. The managers and MDs I work with often tell me they are looking for a workforce  with skills around creativity, flexibility, problem solving, team work, leadership, negotiation, self-motivation etc, but they never once ask for the kind of sell-your-granny-and-screw-the-competition ‘entrepreneurial’ skills that are showcased on The Apprentice.

In fact, really smart companies (and those with both high employee retention and high growth), such as Innocent Smoothies, employee staff not on their experience, then skills and then references, but on:

1. Attitude

2. Skills

3. Experience

By making ‘attitude’ their No.1 priority when hiring, they ensure the company’s mission and values are matched by their employees from the get-go, and so they only employ self-motivated, passionate staff, who will do what it takes to get the job done… without coercion, backstabbing, rudeness, arrogance and belittling.

The thing new Apprentice contestants seem to miss is that previous show winners have different values and attitudes than those who are fired. Vileness is replaced by negotiation and persuasion skills, cut-throatedness is replaced by an understanding of when to be shrewd, confident and cheeky and when to cut your losses, and arrogance is replace by quiet confidence and steady results.

Being ruthless in business is easy – use you your profit and loss sheets as an excuse to be loathsome to your staff and suppliers. Developing a clear niche and market positioning based on values, and then embodying those values to your customers, employees and staff is harder – but much more rewarding.

Of course, if you secretly dream of being told ‘You’re fired!” by Alan Sugar, you can always book your team in for a Pretty Clever ‘Hired Or Fired’ teambuilding session, where you can compete to raise money for your chosen charity and, at the end of the day, all but one of you will get fired by Pretty Clever’s very own Sugar stand-in.

To find out more about ‘Hired Or Fired’ team building activities, go to:

To find out more about Viv Craske’s motivational business trainings, go to: