You’re Fired – Lessons from the Apprentice

You Are FiredDo you watch the Apprentice?

I’m afraid I’m hooked. It’s practically the only TV I watch these days. As a child I used to hide behind the sofa when Dr Who was on – that was fear. Now I hide when the Apprentice is on, but that’s out of embarrassment!

Anyway, last week’s episode was definitely a 10 out of 10 on the cringe worthy scale. Especially as it was about advertising and that’s what I know a lot about.

But, I think everyone missed a massive lesson from it. Did you?

As you recall Mark basically lied to his group and said he did advertising as his day job. He was desperate to be the project manager so he lied about the facts of what he did so that they would pick him.

Did you notice how shocked the rest of his team were when it was revealed after that task that he didn’t do advertising at all. He was simply a sales person as a PPC firm. Basically he cold calls companies and promises them number one on Google. Yes, I’m sure you’ve had those calls as well!!

So, why do I say there is a valuable lesson here?

Well, consider this.

Those people have all been living in the house together for some time.

What’s one of the first thing you do when you meet people for the first time?

You asked them what they do!

I’m willing to bet that this bunch actually did ask the question but guess what happened.

(Warning – typical stereotype comment about the young from an older person!)

I can almost certainly bet that not one of them listened to each others answers. Didn’t listen and frankly didn’t care about the answer.

Their whole world is focused on them and so they would simply be waiting for the other person to eventually ask what they do so that they could talk about themselves (and be ignored by the other person!)

I’ve seen this a lot in business, especially in my field of internet marketing which is full of much younger people than me. Most of them don’t listen to the client. They don’t appear to have the faculty for listening. Maybe we failed them as younger people? Maybe I’m just getting old :)

Anyway, the key lesson here (and one that has served me well over many years) is to listen a lot more that we talk in business. Listen to your customers, listen to what’s going on in your market place and listen to advice!

One of my favourite saying is that there is a reason why we have two ears and only one mouth!

Rant over?

Unless of course you want to add something! Feel free to add your comments below.

Do you agree with me?


About The Author

Mike Seddon

I launched my first business in 2001 selling software. I started using Adwords to drive traffic to my software business and found I had a talent for it. At the time, I networked a lot locally with other businesses and I found many of them had suffered very bad experiences with various so called “professional” Adwords companies. Quite often I would help these business out of the mess they had got into. I started selling Adwords Management service back in 2006 and I’ve not looked back since. My approach is open and honest. My view is that if someone has to confuse you to win your business then it’s likely they don’t know what they are doing! In 2010, I wrote the book Simply Adwords and shortly after that it was picked up by Amazon here in the UK. Soon it went global to all the other Amazon stores and remains there today. I regularly give talks about Google Adwords and also the other website promotion techniques such as SEO, Social Media and more. In 2011, I was invited by none other than Perry Marshall to speak on Advance Adwords techniques.


  • Nick Jervis

    Reply Reply November 26, 2014

    Definitely a case of one of my favourite acronyms Mike – EAMWDYTOM


    You get this a lot at networking meetings where people talk only about themselves, then stop to ask you if you agree that they are as brilliant as they say they are, before moving on to bombard someone else with their nonsense.

    Good observation Mike. Love the Apprentice too!

    • Mike Seddon

      Reply Reply December 1, 2014

      Hi Nick,

      Yes, I’d forgotten that acronym. It’s absolutely spot on.

      You’re right about networking meetings as well.

      The problem with network meeting is everyone is there to sell and everyone forgets that the best sales people always listen a lot more than they speak.

  • Anna Cook

    Reply Reply November 26, 2014

    Good article! I agree people don’t listen but I don’t think it is just the young… I find just as many ‘mature’ professionals are selectively deaf whenever it suits them! 😉

    • Mike Seddon

      Reply Reply December 1, 2014

      Yes, you are right Anna. I know a few of those mature professionals! Thanks for leaving a comment.

  • Cerise Reed

    Reply Reply November 26, 2014

    Completely agree, Mike! Mostly prevalent in the young, but like Anna I too have encountered it from (im)mature professionals, particularly at networking events.

    • Mike Seddon

      Reply Reply December 1, 2014

      Yes, I’m with you there.

      I always found the best approach at networking events is to listen to other people. Find out what it is they need and try to help them. They tend to remember that and will refer other people to you as that “helpful” person.
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Stefan

    Reply Reply November 26, 2014

    Totally agree.

    The other thing people forget is that by stopping your own noise you have time to think about what you could say that is valuable to the listener.

    Of course it makes even more sense to listen properly.

    • Mike Seddon

      Reply Reply December 1, 2014

      It’s funny that we are taught to speak and school but never how to listen!

  • Andrew Atkins

    Reply Reply November 26, 2014

    Spot on. you could easily apply the 80/20 rule. 80% listening, 20% talking

    • Mike Seddon

      Reply Reply December 1, 2014

      Brilliant observation Andrew. 80:20 definitely applies here as it does everywhere.


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