Last night, I tuned in to the first episode of this season’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC.
I’d planned to watch for the sure-to-be-obnoxious antics of ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (I was not disappointed), but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Curtis Stone was part of the cast. Stone, that hunky, Australian chef who makes regular appearances on network and cable TV shows, is reason enough to check my local listings. But I digress.
Last night’s show was an interesting case study on men and women in business and in life. It clearly demonstrated how differently men and women think about their worth and abilities, and how these thoughts ultimately determine the heights we attain in life and work.
In the show, two teams–one comprised of men, the other of women–were each charged with running a diner in New York City. Each team had to design its own marketing strategy, create and prepare its own menu, and determine pricing. The money raised through food sales and tips would benefit charities of their choice.
The women charged $25 per burger and raised $24,000 in tips. The men charged $100 and up per burger and raised more than $46,000 in tips.
How was this possible? The line for the women’s diner spanned several city blocks, and they couldn’t bus or turn tables quickly enough to accommodate new diners. But the men weren’t so lucky. Hungry diners trickled into their eatery, and several even walked in, saw the prices, and left. Still, the men raised nearly double what the women did in tips. How?
On a purely superficial level, the men had confidence in their product (a truffle burger made by a gorgeous chef), the willingness to market that product to the proper demographic (those who were willing and financially able to pay for the burger), and the confidence that they’d be successful.
In contrast, I believe the women lost because they didn’t really expect to win. That’s why they didn’t put a lot of effort into marketing to or attracting the right clientele. Their defeatist mindset was exposed in the boardroom, where, when asked by Donald Trump why they didn’t charge more, Project Manager Cyndi Lauper sheepishly said, “I felt people couldn’t afford it.” To which Trump replied, “You were in a better location with more traffic; you should’ve won.”
And so should you. It sounds cliche’, but whether you win or lose often really is a matter of what you expect. What we expect typically is what we attract. That’s why I’m expecting to run into a Curtis Stone look-alike any minute now. And if he happens to be standing behind a grill selling ridiculously-priced burgers, I’ll take mine well-done.