I haven’t ever watched “The Apprentice” from beginning to end, but this year I found myself catching a couple of episodes (or parts of episodes!) for the entertainment factor of watching a group of people fight and jostle and try to outshine each other, all while trying to impress Lord Sugar so he will invest in their business.

However last week, I caught part of the semi-final where the group went from five to two candidates.  It was interesting to listen to the discussions and reasoning from the panel as to why the three candidates would be leaving the competition.

Trusting Foundations

The only male candidate left in the final five was fired because Lord Sugar didn’t want to be seen as “promoting a drinking culture” by investing in his “Hangover Killer” product.  Most interestingly, one of the most prominent opinions that was shared by the judging panel was questioning whether he could be trusted as a business partner.

In delivering the news to the candidate, Lord Sugar said: “Daniel you have been good in the past 11 weeks but a bit concerned in you as a person…bit of a flyboy I have to think about who’s gonna be a successful business partner with me…I can’t invest in you.”

Why Who You Are Matters

I found this very interesting.  This was prime time TV questioning the character of an individual and the morals of their business idea over the potential money generating business opportunity.

And so immediately I knew I wanted to write about it this week, because in the world of job hunting, promotions, and starting your own business, there is the common misconception that it’s all about experience and accomplishments, ideas and prospects.  This is only part of it.

More often, it’s about how you are as a person.  So you may have multiple stages to an interview process to see if you consistently show up as the same person.  You may be asked to do a personality profile that is likely to give some kind of insight into what makes you tick.  You may be asked to do various types of activities and meet different kinds of people during your recruitment process so they can all get together and discuss their impressions of you to make a hiring decision.

In the world of promotions, you may miss out if you struggle with relationships across your business.  Your reputation will precede you and your colleagues will be judging your likelihood to be successful in a future role based on your behaviour in your current role.

Building Trust

When it comes to your own business, you may find that you are losing sales if people don’t like you.  People buy from people, so regardless of how amazing your product is, if you are someone they don’t warm to, you may find yourself losing sales or losing repeat business because they just don’t want to deal with you. 

So what can you do to help ensure that you are seen to be trustworthy and someone people want to be around and do business with? Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Figure out what kind of person you want to be – who you are is a decision you can make today. You don’t have to keep being the person you think you have to be based on what’s happened to you in your past.
  2. If you have some broken relationships around you, take the time to speak to those people and have an honest conversation about how you have contributed to the difficulty between you. Build bridges, and mend wrongdoings that will help you get closure and move forward as a new, freer you.
  3. Talk to others about how they perceive you. Ask family members, friends, colleagues, line managers, customers and others in your life about what your strengths, weaknesses, what people know about you for sure, what you can be relied on for and what you can’t be relied on for.

Getting Perspectives

Ultimately, you want to get an understanding of how other people see you and perceive you, as well as what your strengths are and how other people see you to be able to contribute to yourself, others and the world around you.

Good luck in your journey to fine tune your character so you don’t end up fired, or running the risk of not fulfilling your full career potential.