Four crucial business lessons worth remembering

Peter Done, founder of Peninsula, offers tips for business success.

With the new series of The Apprentice showcasing the latest batch of determined candidates, all vying for a life-changing job opportunity with Lord Sugar (and their 15 minutes of fame), here are some business lessons to learn while watching.

1) Be a team player 

Being an effective team player can truly help your chances of succeeding in the workplace.

Your role within a team can vary, and you may sometimes be required to lead, and on other occasions work in the background, organising or carrying out certain tasks. Often, in The Apprentice, we've seen an individual candidate ignore their designated role and instead aim for a leadership position. This leads to tension and friction within the team, and can have a negative impact on the job in hand.

A good team player can lead when required, but ultimately puts the team's objectives above their own individual agenda.

2) Do your bit  

In my experience, people who are successful always do their bit and contribute effectively to every task they are involved in.

In each and every series, we've seen candidates who have stood back and hidden in the background, hoping they won't be noticed. For many, it may be part of the game plan not to stick their neck out for the first few episodes, to avoid being blamed for any failures, but this strategy has backfired, with candidates being fired for not contributing enough. So it’s key to get involved in tasks, take on some risk and responsibility, and get noticed for your input.

3) Manage your workload

To achieve success, it's important to manage your workload effectively and always keep the main objectives at the forefront of your mind. Candidates who don’t manage their workload effectively, and instead focus too much time on promoting themselves, often end up getting fired because they failed to meet the main objectives and became side-tracked with less important or trivial or counter-productive elements of their workload. 

A lot of the tasks on The Apprentice involve making more money or profit than the other team. Looking back at previous series, the candidates and teams who have made decisions always with this objective in mind usually did the best.

4) Always celebrate success

There is a lot of uncertainty in business, so it’s important to take the time to celebrate success when it does occur. This goes beyond acknowledgment – this is about taking a step back and reflecting on what you and your team have accomplished, and what you have all learned throughout the journey.

In the fast-paced, rapidly changing world of work, people are not taking enough time to understand why they were successful and how their success reverberated and positively impacted those around them.   

Remember that leaders are only as successful as the rest of their team, and that great businesses know that with the right team dynamics, decisions and diverse personalities, everyone wins.

About the author

Peter Done is founder and managing director of Peninsula