The Apprentice TV show and SQ skills

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 2:41 AM 
From: "Parhatsathid Napatalung"   Bangkok professor

Dear Sloan:

As a follow-up to the 8 year old child study on SQ, nothing offers a more vivid demonstration than the reality show, The Apprentice, Season 7 (U.S. Edition). The Apprentice serves as a good case study why Social Quotient is important and why most people can't make it to the final round. This TV show that many watch is a dramatic way to see the importance of getting along. Chet Atkins somehow made it into the final rounds with Piers Morgan. The reality of The Apprentice program demonstrates that it is usually the ones who get in the way of the team, or the troublemaker that often get eliminated in the early rounds. Only the ones who manage to avoid conflicts make it in the final round, or the last 3-4 contestants of the more than two dozen in the initial rounds. What a lesson for everyone!

Even if a person does not have a naturally gifted S.Q., the best way is simply to avoid conflict. Nothing is more damaging than the word "Your Fired", by Donald Trump (or even the comments of Sir Alan Sugar) whenever a person is the trouble maker. However there are insights not just in the players interactions, but also how "the Judge" decides who to fire based on his level of ethics himself. Donald Trump has one style, and it contrasts in the ethics in Sir Alan Sugar's style. Ther are always culturally differences, but the ability for humans to get along with each other stem from near universal traits.

Whatever the style (for less ethics or more ethics), it is apparent that the higher social quotient often avoided major team upheavals. The Apprentice leaders often managed by the process of eliminating those who caused group conflict. There are several things people can do to incite trouble. Not making a team effort, for example, or refusing to do work because one disagrees, misrepresenting of facts, not listening to the majority group - all hurt the individual and the team. Ordering someone to do an unethical behavior then stabbing in the back (as Piers Morgan ordered spying), downright lying to another people, and many other nasty things - seemed unbelievable to watch. Useful behavior doesn't require an Einstein's genius, it just requires discipline.

As part of the Social Quotient equation, avoiding unnecessary conflicts is something we can all learn. At the very least, if I were a team player in The Apprentice, I would expect to get to the last 2-3 final contestants just by that SQ ability alone. It should be noted that I would have been long dead (really!) decades ago, as I have attended over 25 high schools in the United States, studying in some of the most violent high schools in the area. So this skill in avoiding conflict is something that I used all the time; and obviously some of my classmates are now dead because of their inability to do so.

As to the entertainment industry and even Hollywood actors, many keep their careers simply by staying out of conflict, avoiding drugs, and other things that can be catastrophic to careers. If a person can do that, then it's not their genius that is at the helm, it's their staying power that boosted them in their career, by a simple process of elimination.

Even the 8 year old study observations, (such as not being a bully to anyone) offer lessons we adults can at learn. The simplest things such as this are good predictors of success, not because of any diplomatic successes with the team members, but through staying power in avoiding unnecessary conflict. Where a team player's basic skill in social behavior is first learned, it really helps before going on to the success skills in a competitive environment. And there is less stress that has to be dealt with. Social factors are important, because it is the lack of social skills that are going to kill you first (in competing for success- or even literally in tough neighborhoods!).

Arranging some sort of social skills workshop with this goal in a business environment would be helpful. The Apprentice show demonstrates that SQ is one of the most basic skills a successful organizaion needs. Behaving with the same old untrained social skills set will pretty soon get you fired. Perhaps these skills should be pointed out earlier (in schools). Let's all learn from the missteps in The Apprentice.



Dear Ted,

As you so often do, you have come up with another interesting point of view that should be of interest to viewers of my website. Your message, in a slightly edited format, is now at Many people around the world view The Apprentice, and some should get to this new page in an Internet search.

Another friend who is a fan of The Apprentice often urged me to mention the show on my SQ site. But I had always thought that the participants' behavior was often a poor demonstration of social skills. Your message shows howThe Apprentice can be a teaching tool (in reverse).

I strongly agree that emphasis on good social skills in schools, starting at the elementary level, can be valuable life-long lessons. It is a shame that the lack of such skills keeps may otherwise very bright and talented individuals from contributing more to the success of their organizations.

Van Sloan

Go to: How Ted teaches with The Apprentice

Go to: Social Skills at age 8 Predict Future Success - sent by Professor Ted

Go to: Professor Ted's comments on corruption in Nations

Go to: Nations ranked from least to most corrupt

Comments to:

Web (this website, 170+ pages on IQ and Success skills)

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