OK, so it’s easy enough to take cheap shots at the delusional wannabes on The Apprentice, but when respected business people, honoured for their commercial prowess, keep referring to the practices seen regularly on the ‘shopping list task’ as negotiation it is more than a little annoying.
To help understand this let’s consider the Clock Face Model as used by the Gap Partnership, acknowledged leaders in negotiation. As complexity, dependency and trust increase so we move around the clock.
It’s easy to see from the behaviours displayed by the candidates that they are around 1 or 2 o’clock – bartering and haggling – so why not call it as it is?
To appreciate negotiation at its best we would want see activity from 6 o’clock onward. Skilled practitioners would recognise the importance of preparation (no danger of that on The Apprentice) and would have a range of variables they could trade to strike the deal (to be fair the setup of the task does not really allow this, but would they be used anyway?).
The meeting itself would be carefully thought through and broadly structured around a framework like Open, Propose, Trade, Agree with individual’s roles on the team respected and adhered to (no chance!).
So, it makes for a fun bit of TV of an evening, but it’s a bit naughty of the business leaders involved to indicate we might be watching something even approaching professional practice. For me the best and perhaps most appropriate bit is the follow up show ‘You’re Fired’ where a contestant’s performance is critiqued by comedians… very apt.