Here are some key rules you must follow if you ever find yourself in the boardroom on NBC's hit show The Apprentice:
- Yell loudly in an argument. Trump & Co. want to see you aggressively beating someone down in a verbal exchange. That's Trump's style, and it also makes for fiery television content.
- Don't draw focus to yourself when you're not the subject of discussion. Trump gets pissy at anyone interrupting the conversation (particularly him). Moreover, the point of any discussion is to figure out who to fire, so as long as they're not talking about you, you're chances of getting fired are shrinking.
- Don't waive any rule advantage. Hoo, boy, does Trump hate this. You need to leverage every advantage you can to squish your opponents. Being noble or chivalrous by foregoing some advantage pisses off Trump like nothing else. (See Season 2, Episode 2, where Trump first calls Bradford "the best one in the room," and then furiously axes him for doing just this.)
- If you're Team Leader, do not blame others for not following orders. As team leader, it's seductive (and often accurate) to criticize other team members for refusing to follow your directions. However, Trump always takes this as an indication of a weak leader if you couldn't convince them to do things your way, and usually fires the leader. Yes, this opens a massive loophole for team members intentionally sabotaging their boss. Tough, ain't it?
- Don't take responsibility for failure. Whatever you do, do not say that the failure was your responsibility. It simply has to be someone else's. Find it, exaggerate it, make it up. Whatever you do, do not admit to any responsibility. This is key.
Finally, there's one strategy (similar to those used on other reality shows) which seems utterly obvious to me that no one has ever used on the Apprentice. I'm honestly puzzled why no one has engaged in it. Here it is:
As Team Leader heading into a boardroom, pick 1 Ally and 1 Enemy to bring into the boardroom with you. Make an alliance in advance with the Ally, that they will be in the boardroom for the two of you to gang up on the Enemy, as the designated target for firing. Tell Trump that you're bringing Ally into the boardroom because you trust their judgement and want their input in the firing determination (and of course serve up Enemy as the sacrificial lamb). Honestly, it seems like the boardroom choice sequence is arranged specifically to support and encourage this, but to date no one has ever implemented the Ally/Enemy strategy. Come on, people, let's get with it!