Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Understanding Trump

As someone who has worked in large corporations for twenty years, I have observed many senior executives in action. That experience has led me to recognize Trump traits that mirror those I have personally experienced. The first common leadership trait I see is the art of persuasion.  Trump is a master persuader, just as all senior executives and hypnotists are.  There are many campaign examples of Trump persuading folks to believe and follow a CEO/reality television star that had no political experience.

Much of this persuasion comes off as boastful. When he said he'd build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it, many were persuaded to believe he would indeed build the wall. Nobody really believed he will get Mexico to pay for it, but the bombastic thought of him demanding that Mexico pay for the wall persuades his followers that he will build the wall after years of other politicians saying they would but never getting it done (including Hilary Clinton). He also claimed to know ISIS better than the generals. That boast persuades many to believe that he is committed to defeating ISIS, even though they don't actually think he knows more than generals. By labeling Ted Cruz "Lying Ted" and Hillary Clinton "Crooked Hillary", he casts a mental image of his opponents faults every time he refers to them.  He didn't need to explain each time the reasons behind his names for both. Classic sales persuasion.

A second tactic Trump used to great success is called "Pace and Lead". It is a persuasion technique that is well documented and used by Trump.  The best example from the campaign was when he said that as President, he would stop all Muslim immigration.  He paced a large segment of his followers by taking an extreme position that he knew would resonate with them.  Once paced, he could then lead them to a more realistic solution - extreme vetting and build the wall. I believe he never had any intention of blocking Muslim immigrants.

Trump used pacing and leading on the larger immigration issue also. His original position was build the wall, make Mexico pay for it, deport all illegal immigrants, no exceptions. He was pacing a group of supporters he would soon attempt to persuade. Not long after this position, deport all became deport violent criminals (bad dudes), and revisit the rest of illegal immigrants at a later date once the inflow was curtailed. That is his current position and is no different than many of his republican primary challenger's positions. He successfully moved a large number of his base to a more reasonable position.

These two examples also gave Trump the "dangerous", bad temperament reputation. If you believe he was serious during his pacing phase, you may believe he is dangerous and doesn't have the temperament to be president. In actuality, President Trump is far less dangerous than a President Clinton would have been. Clinton's positions on Russia and Iran could lead to war.  Trump's pacing position is just his tactic to lead others to a better solution. Trump isn't dangerous and probably has a better leadership temperament than Hillary has.

Finally and before our very eyes, Trump has demonstrated why he is the best person for the job.  The primary purpose of a senior executive is to define a path for the organization they lead, and be prepared to do what he can to solve the immense problems that will arise as that path is followed. Think about Trump and team's accomplishments in the past 18 months. In the republican primary, his opposition consisted of 16 seasoned politicians that wanted the same thing he wanted.  Only one would get it. It is obvious that Trump had a strategy, surrounded himself with some of the best business minds he knew, and brilliantly vanquished each opponent to become the last man standing.

Then in the national campaign, Trump faced an electoral map that strongly favors democrats.  Needing 270 electoral votes with the largest states ( California and New York) and their 84 electoral votes already off the board left him with few paths to victory. Somewhere around the beginning of October, Trump pulled his team together and devised a plan that would result in 270 electoral votes. He then resourced the plan and executed his part in a stellar manner. Watching the Trump team thread the needle on Tuesday was the culmination of a brilliant plan to solve a complex, almost mission impossible problem.

That is the kind of brainpower and execution I want solving some of the problems facing America. We just might solve a few for the first time in decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment