Apparently we’re tired of hearing Donald Trump declare, “You’re fired.” Particularly if he’s aiming the sentiment at celebrities. Seems the ratings for Trump’s newest version of, The Apprentice, were down–way down. Here’s the story.

The Apprentice was initially an interesting idea. The first couple of seasons were intriguing to watch and kept viewers coming back. But then, as is often the case with reality TV, the formula got old, tired, and boring. So, what to do? Well the solution was (apparently) to keep the same format, for the most part, but use celebrities as the “players.” Yawn.

OK, enough about The Apprentice. I don’t wish it ill. It just serves to be an example for my point. Business, whether it is product or service driven, experiences what I call the transformational arc. The arc is the forward and upward progression an organization. Leaders always want the arc to move upward–meaning that the business is always experiencing greater amounts of success. One caveat here: sometimes organizations die, because as our Buddhists friends would tell us, all is impermanent. Nothing lasts forever. However, organizations prematurely die when the leaders don’t understand the arc. Arcs represent the freshness of your ideas, products AND the interest of people have in them. The arcs naturally go up and then down. This may be what’s happening to, The Apprentice.

Leaders need to understand that hat arcs move up and then down. Like so…

The key is to leap off the current arc before it trends down. Like so…


Leap off the arc at its high point in a way that propels the organization toward a new arc.


The trouble comes when organizations either don’t leap (hence riding the arc downward, can someone say K-Mart), or when the make only minor iterations in the current arc hoping for increasingly better results (usually not the case because everyone is already tired of the arc your on, so dressing it up in different clothes makes you look desperate).

A few examples of not leaping:

The Apprentice doesn’t seem to be reinventing but recycling with “big” names

A non profit does a “banquet” every year to raise money. It takes more and more work every year to get fewer dollars. It might be time for a new strategy, a new arc.


A church gets stuck in the same type of Sunday service–rarely altering the design or flow (people get bored)

A great example of leaping:

All things Apple. Jobs and his crew are brilliant at leaping just when a product is at its height–thereby riding the momentum of success upward.


Ah, more on arcs later–all this up and down is making queezy.