What can we learn from President Trump?

The US 2020 election has been interesting, with the incumbent president declaring he has won, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. President Trump has created a divisive culture during his four-year term, while the world looked on with concern.

Just over half of US voters voted against him, while just under half are avid followers. Love him or loathe him – he is a leader who stirs up strong emotion, as demonstrated by the record number of people voting in this election.

The Q2 team followed the US election online more closely than our own NZ election the previous month.  We cheered, or fell into an unhappy silence, as each state was called.  We were engaged and we cared.

John Key recently had this to say: “People like Trump’s energy and habit of calling it the way he sees it… There’s a whole bunch of people who are sick of the political correctness and they want something on the other side.”

Energy, passion, and repetition are Trump’s strengths.

Effective CEOs must be CROs (Chief Repeating Officers) – CROs repeat their message until it sinks in, and then keep repeating it some more.  Trump does that in his numerous tweets and rambling speeches.  He repeats the message until many believe what he says.

In my opinion Pres Trump is not a good leader.  He is polarising, egotistical, lacking respect for science, truth, democracy, and the common good.  He’s also a bad loser.

But regardless of whether you love him or loathe him, there are important things business leaders can learn from Pres. Trump:

  • Bring energy to the day
  • Build connection, followers, and engagement
  • Create a strong culture based on core values and shared behaviour
  • Be the Chief Repeating Officer, keep repeating the key messages
  • Be ready to fire (aka release to the marketplace) those who don’t fit the culture
  • Utilise the “waterfall process” – it starts at the top and cascades down.

A strong culture will attract likeminded individuals to your business, your mission, and your vision.  A strong culture will help with recruitment, engagement, performance development and management.  A strong culture will set your business apart in the marketplace.

“A strong culture should attract and repel in equal measure.”

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