“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”
I have tried to get off the attention whore Trump train of the endless travels of lack of leadership behavior … but he continues to dominate news <I envision this will now be the case for the next 4 years>.
In addition … despite the fact every Trump surrogate, as well as Trump himself, wants to shrug off the election itself and simply land on “he won, get over it” … the Trump topic remains rumbling in every office, gym and bar. The gloaters and the disappointed and the concerned continue to clash and Trump <and his surrogates> continues to ignore that fact.
I continue to be baffled by his incredible lack of leadership skills.
Day after day I can come home with a simple “why didn’t he just do or say this?” thought which any leader who has led an organization with an eye toward building an employee culture <rather than an autocratic dynasty culture> knows.
I offer two thoughts today.
- Hero status.
I actually did some research on the Bannon guy who seems to be some type of Trump whisperer and oddly I found the kernel of what I was seeking in what I believe was his first documentary which was on Reagan <and trust me on this … while I am not a huge Reagan fan I do not believe Trump is even in the same positive stratosphere as Reagan>.
It was there that “hero” seemed to be offered as a theme. In a cold dark world in which everything evil is attacking what America stands for and does we needed a hero … a Captain America as it were … to stand up and not only lead but bear the shield and hammer to defend it all.
That certainly appears to be the mantle Trump is seeking to drape over his own shoulders. While I would imagine ‘emperor’ would be an attractive title to him, if someone were to suggest to him “you are Captain America” I can only imagine that nasty smile that sometimes appears on his face to appear and say “I like it.”
Two things about this hero mantle Trump appears to be positioning himself for:
Americans like heroes.
But we like a slightly different type of hero. We like heroes who are not squeaky clean. We like flawed heroes. We like heroes who have a glimpse of the dark, a touch of black in our white knight. We even hesitate with burnished armor but like the slightly used
We like our heroes a little dirty.
That is what Trump wants to offer and is happily, with some obvious delight, suggesting he is THE hero we need.
In a Reagan world it was communism <or Russia>.
But the specific enemy is less important as long as there are no shades of gray.
It must be black and white so a white knight can be offered.
It must be sinners and saints so the flawed Saint can smote the sinner.
It demons and angels so a fallen angel can find redemption by facing the demon we all fear.
And, in Bannon’s case, it is the devil versus a Christian God <I personally believe Trump could care less about his specific distinction other than it offers him a very specific Hero role>.
Globalists. The Media. The elite. The intellectuals. The Muslims. The ever nebulous ‘establishment.’
Pick your enemy. As long as there is an enemy the Hero has someone to fight <for us>.
- Transactional branding.
In the business and marketing world there are a variety of ways to attain a brand status … one is transactional. It is focusing on each transaction as a building block which places, piece by piece, the mosaic of that which is your brand. To be clear … this only works if you have an architectural schematic in which you are placing your building blocks. If you do not have that then … well ,,, they simply become random pieces scattered around the lot in which you are trying to build and whatever is created is unsteady and not a particularly attractive building from a distance.
A hero falls into this concept very easily … particularly if that hero is a non thinker and a doer like Trump. In this case the Hero is the one who faces a specific challenge from the enemy, faces it and overcomes it and holds the prize up high in victory only to place it as a building block on the structure the hero is demanded to defend and build.
Heroes are transactional. Heroes are doers. In heroic sagas the vision is defined, the sides are clearly established and the Hero steps forward to insure ‘what is right’ wins versus ‘what is wrong.’
While I just thought of those words and just typed them … they echo with the taint of Trump’s delivery.
This leads me to the kitchen table.
I actually had a great, and enlightening, discussion with a couple of Trump voters.
Once I stripped away the anti-Clinton hyperbole there were real kitchen table issues and problems they were seeking Trump to resolve. They were personal, and real, issues that were holding them back from reaching a potential they believed would be within their grasp if the obstacles were removed … uhm … if the enemies were slayed.
They admitted their knight was flawed … but they saw their knight as someone who is going to kill some enemies. And, frankly, if you believe you are in a shithole you are willing to place your ‘change the situation’ responsibility on even a risky knight. In other words, through their self-interest lens they would seek someone who understood self-interest motivations.
While I didn’t specifically reference ‘the kitchen table’ back in May I did note that Trump would play very very well in this scenario:
But Trump is good at this … he appears tough with regard to self-interest because … well … he has been successful himself focused on self-interest.
Therefore many people, who may believe they have nothing to lose today feel like it is in THEIR best self-interest to take the risk with the only person who is willing to do whatever it takes to get out of the shithole.
Or as one Trump supporter said:
“I’m willing to pay for it. I want to see my country winning again. Trump is a winner. And I’m sick of losing.”
Whew <I needed to take a breath for a moment>.
Here is the problem with what I just shared <part 1> … the fact so many people believe we re actually in such a deep shithole we actually need a hero like Trump.
Here is the problem with what I just shared <part 2> … well … that is beyond the overall disturbing ‘hero mentality in a constructed us, or Me, versus them world’ … there are real enemies and then there are REAL enemies.
As a small business person sits at a kitchen table at night they face a day to day transactional enemy which can very easily be placed into the arms of some larger ‘branded’ enemy construct to blame <some evil entity created my day to day problem>. It is a specific transactional problem, and a real one I may add, which someone in a leadership position <a hero> needs to solve for me.
They are real enemies to the everyday schmuck like me.
And then there are REAL enemies … the ones who challenge my country’s position in the world. The ones who can attack not my transactional problems but rather my architectural schematic. Those are the REAL enemies.
I have said it before and I will say it again and again <and again> … being a leader does not permit you to think solely transactionally nor does it permit you to sit at every kitchen table and solve each real enemy they visit on a day to day business. I cannot remember where and when I wrote this <and I made up the numbers> but even on my best day and my best decision … in a 400 employee company I could almost guarantee at least 40 people would actually be hurt in some way by it … maybe another 40 felt no real benefit … and a large % of the rest would either slightly benefit or see some tangible benefit. And, yet, 1 year later everyone was still employed and most likely bearing some benefits unforeseen back when the decision was made.
I cannot imagine making a decision for 320 million people.
Suffice it to say … some kitchen tables will always not be happy. Suffice it to say that sometimes a leader sacrifices a building block to maintain the integrity of the architectural schematic to be built from.
I can honestly say, and from experience, this is the kind of shit that keeps a leader up at night and gives you gray hair.
In the end.
I continue to state to whomever will listen … Trump is not a leader. He has never led an organization and created a an organizational culture. He slays problems in a transactional way and believes you build pride & culture by slaying shit. That is but one part of a culture. Because wins, and slaying problems, is absolutely an important aspect of a positive business culture. But that only works as long as you have something to slay. You learn very very quickly that a purpose driven self expression culture is a much more positive business culture than a culture driven solely by an ‘us versus them’ aggressive driven culture.
To be clear.
What Trump is doing, setting aside the naïve leadership tactics and heinous wording, has value in an organization.
As a leader I would see some value in selected tactics if he were working for me. I would use him in selective ways to attain selective objectives <and maybe Pence will do so>.
I would not make him a leader … I would have him work FOR me and use him as a tool in my toolkit to move toward a horizon I envision for my organization.
And maybe that is where I personally struggle with our new President elect.
I can only really envision him as an employee … and not my leader.
I will admit that the first time I thought that thought it felt arrogant and I shelved it.
But then as time went on I shared it with some business peers and … well … it seemed to be a consensus feeling. Setting aside some characteristics <mostly his “I in team” attitude> we all felt he could be used as ‘a guided missile type employee’ where you could point him in a direction, maybe on occasion have to say “no Donald, we cannot do that … but we can do this” and an organization could benefit. Uhm. But none of us could envision working for him.
He doesn’t feel like a leader and he certainly doesn’t feel like a leader of a large employee type organization.
He is transactional.
He is a doer.
He is not a visionary, he has no objectives <other than a nebulous ‘make america great’> and he has no clue how to build an organizational culture.
I wrote this back in May of this year, Trump celebrates imminent nomination, and … well … I am not sure I would change one word with regard to Mr. president-elect Trump who shows no signs of acting like a president.
I have come to accept I am destined to have a president who does not know how to be an effective leader nor understands the impact of words.
It is a bitter pill to swallow mostly because I demand better of any leader let alone the president of my own country.
I do not foresee Armageddon … just a lot of transactional activity. I only hope there is an architect somewhere near to whisper in his ear <other than this Bannon guy>.