Every day there is a new story out of the White House. Accusations of wiretapping, fighting with the press, tales of possible Russian collusion, potential conflict of interest and a failed health care bill. Can you say “embattled”? I think Mr. Trump could use a bit of personal coaching. If I had the opportunity, here’s what I would say:
Hello Mr. Trump,
To make our time together productive, we need to establish a few principles by which we will operate:
- We need to clearly define what you wish to accomplish.
- You must be open to and make a genuine attempt to take in a new perspective.
- You have to take different action in order to effect change.
Let’s begin with talking about what you want. Since we are not actually meeting and I’ve never met you, I’ll have to rely on news reports for what you wish to accomplish. From what I’ve read in the news, using sources generally accepted as credible, I believe your truest desire is adulation. That isn’t a bad thing. It is a form of every human’s most basic need – love. Some people, like some performers (comedians, musicians, singers, actors), choose careers, at least in part based on the desire for adulation. Twitter and Instagram are full of people who feel that need also.
Here’s my evidence: You seem to be at your best when speaking at your rallies with hundreds of people cheering for you. You seem to admire Vladimir Putin. I believe it is because he is reported to enjoy an 85% approval rating in Russia. It is reported that Russians like him because he gave them their pride back. That sounds a lot like make America great again. You seem fixated on Barack Obama, one of the most popular presidents in recent history. I believe your unsubstantiated wiretapping/surveillance claim is as much about reducing President Obama’s popularity as it is about anything else. You’ve claimed, without evidence, that there were 3+ million illegal votes in the presidential election, which, according to you, explains why Hillary Clinton was able to win the popular vote.
If adulation is your goal, you need more supporters rather than fewer. The actions you are taking are working against you, but with a few simple course corrections, I believe you can become more popular that Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan AND do wonderful things for the country at the same time:
- New perspective: Get back to your roots — be the dealmaker.
The best dealmakers are honest negotiators. They work with emotional intelligence and understand the counterpart’s perspective. They work out a great deal fro themselves but also offer their counterparts a deal so great they are eager to accept. They get repeat business because they have the highest ethics. From what I have read and seen, this will require a more conciliatory approach from you. Might will not make right. I’ll tell you what my mother used to say: “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar!”. I have seem you be welcoming and charming. Use that.
I am sure you are very aware that the way to ensure consensus is to involve all stakeholders in the process. No more trying to ram policy down the throats of Congress. Bring in all the factions, be persuasive and make deals to build consensus. Do what you do best!
It will take some humility on your part. Sometimes think of yourself as providing service to Americans as opposed to being the boss. It will help you stay calm when comments you don’t like come. And they will come. This leads me to my next piece of advice.
- Respond, don’t react.
Be strategic. To be successful, you will need to build coalitions and attract more supporters, for sure. However, you will never please everyone. To be president is to be subject to criticism. Don’t change who you are but be wiser. Continue to speak your mind BUT don’t speak it to everyone. Don’t user twitter to voice your frustrations. Don’t say things you cannot prove are true. My mother also told me to believe none of what I hear and only half of what I see. Be skeptical of all information from all sources. Every writer has their own bias, both liberal and conservative. Every negative comment doesn’t deserve a response. Stop fighting the liberal press. With media, you can be hated today and darling tomorrow. You will need them in the future so pull back on the hostilities with them. Don’t alienate our allies. I see Putin as trying to take advantage of cracks in relationships, like a predator separating the prey form the herd. Don’t give him help in his divide and conquer strategy.
A change in approach to any area of life usually requires a change in those surrounding you. I’m sure you are very aware of this from your experiences in business. Some people are able to support you in your changed approach. To reach the popularity you desire and to be the president you desire, I suggest you clean house:
- Bringing in Ivanka is a good move, nepotism notwithstanding. She seems to help you be strategic and keep a level head. She will give you a different perspective.
- Replace Sean Spicer with someone unflappable who has worked in media. Mr. Spicer gets too emotional. You need someone who will keep cool under fire.
- Remove Steve Bannon. Bring in a Washington insider to help you navigate Washington. It will also calm the fears of minorities and others. People who are afraid are not open. If you want adulation, you need more people more open to listening to you.
- Distance yourself from anyone with credibility issues. I’m talking about Kelly Ann Conway.
4. Be honest going forward. Period.
I believe following these suggestions will start you on a new positive path to achieve the adulation, admiration and adoration of many Americans beyond your current base of supporters. There are other things you will need to do, but this is a good start. Good luck – the country is counting on you!