Thursday 18 January 2018

Trump's 100 days: Here are 7 lessons he could learn from The Art Of The Deal

By Taylor Heyman

The Art Of The Deal is full of wisdom: maybe Trump should take notice.

Trump’s first 100 days as President of the United States of America are up and it’s been a mixed bag. Could looking back over his hit book, The Art Of The Deal, help him find some inspiration?

Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter of the book, later said he wished he had called it The Sociopath, but it does have some enduring lessons which stand the test of time.

We take a look back at the 1987 business bestseller to see if Trump should be following his own advice.

1. Think big

In the book, Trump tells us a portion of his success is due to a desire to “build something monumental”. Something like a wall, perhaps, or a healthcare system to replace Obamacare?

“One of the keys to thinking big is total focus,” according to Trump. He recently pulled his healthcare bill when it became clear it would not garner enough support to pass the House.

It would seem a new plan may be some time off.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said: “We are going to move on with the rest of our agenda … We will be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

2. Know your market

Trump tells us in his book that he isn’t a fan of asking marketing firms what to do when it comes to building properties in new locations. Instead he gets out there and speaks to cab drivers and locals to get a steer on things before he starts building.

Trump’s travel ban was ensnared in the courts after attempting to block immigration from six Muslim-majority nations. Judge Derrick K Watson, of the Federal District Court in Honolulu, ruled his executive order was “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose”.

In Trump’s own words: “I’m a great believer in asking everyone for their opinion before I make a decision.”

3. Get the word out

“One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better,” reads a passage in The Art Of The Deal.

Trump goes on to say: “Even a critical story, which may be hurtful personally, can be very valuable to your business.”

Sean Spicer’s series of gaffes, including saying Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons, and berating the press over crowd sizes have distracted from policy – but perhaps that was the intention?

4. Deliver the goods

“You can’t con people, at least not for long … If you can’t deliver the goods, people will catch on.”

One hundred days in and Trump’s big ticket items are still waiting to be checked off the list. Work on the border wall with Mexico is yet to begin, the famed “repeal and replace” healthcare bill didn’t see the inside of the House or Senate and promised tax reforms have not come to fruition.

Of course, he’s still got plenty of time, but he’d better get moving if he wants to keep confidence up.

5. Have fun

Trump is a believer in fun, despite his less-than-saccharine campaign speeches.

He says: “Life is very fragile, and success doesn’t change that.” Trump could benefit from showing his fun side, a strategy which worked well for his predecessor Barack Obama.

6. Lead from the front

When talking about a project to renovate the Wollman ice rink in Central Park, which Trump took over from the city authorities after long delays, he tell us: “Leadership is perhaps the key to getting any job done.”

He details how he checked in on the project every day and closely followed developments to bring it in on time.

Some of his opponents have speculated that Trump’s chief of staff Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner are really in charge behind the scenes. Such rumours, if allowed to get out of control, could threaten his ability to lead effectively.

7. Team up with the right people

Trump’s experience with buying an American football team comes into play here.

“In any partnership, you are only as strong as your weakest link,” he says, referring to his plans for the league his team played in to challenge the NFL for dominance.

Unfortunately it seems some of the other team owners weren’t as prepared to go all in.

Many of the staff positions in Trump’s administration are yet to be filled, so he needs to take care when choosing the remaining members of his team.

The federal trade commission is completely un-staffed at the time of writing and the US still needs over 40 ambassadors to countries including Australia, Canada and Afghanistan.

Press Association

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