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ChrisSplaining: Trump on Teamwork

Donald Trump speaks highly of being a team player. He's right, even if he doesn't heed his own advice.

More than ever, working together is integral to survival as well as to success. Keeping the team spirit alive and well in your personal and professional lives will give you some very good, even surprising results.

-- Donald Trump (Think Like a Champion)

 

Working together is clearly important - nobody sensible argues against that. The benefits of teamwork fill book after book on business as well as personal life. But it seems to me that Mr. Trump, once again, demonstrates behavior that Shakespeare would have described as protesting too much*. It seems so obvious to call out teamwork in a book of business advice, but he regularly demonstrates that "me first" is his general rule. Loyalty, for him flows one way (to him) and any teamwork is predicated on his being served first and deferrals granted. Mr. Trump does not practice teamwork unless the team toes his lines.

Which illustrates the point I'd like to make: teamwork only works if you're a part of the team. Be first among equals if you merit such a position, but never be above the team. Lead by consensus, not edict. Otherwise, step away from this deception and lead deliberately, abandoning the urge to falsely claim that teamwork is your goal. Both are valid paths, but be honest about which you choose.


* In Hamlet, Queen Gertrude says, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks", indicating overstated insincerity. In this case, however, I have little doubt that Mr. Trump believes what he says, even if he doesn't live up to it.

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ChrisSplaining: Trump on Genius

Mr. Trump seems to revel in personifying the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Tell yourself that you are a genius. Right away you will probably wonder why and in what way you are a genius. And right away you will have opened your mind up to wonder - and to asking questions. That's a big first step to thinking like a genius, and it might unlock some of your hidden talents.

-- Donald Trump (Think Like a Champion)

 

Or not.

In my article "He Knows, You Know," I outline the Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, if you presume you're a genius based on very little information, you likely suffer from thinking you know more than you do. In this case, you will often make rookie mistakes because you think you're an expert when you're actually woefully underinformed.

Mr. Trump, in this and many other quotes from this book, likes to come at things from the aspect of presuming he knows everything and then has an open mind subject to change when presented with new information. Current events show that not only is this not correct, but that's it's also dangerous.

My advice is, instead, presume you know nothing and always question what you do think you know.

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ChrisSplaining: Trump on Brevity

Business is no place for stream of consciousness babbling, no matter how colorful you might think you're being. You will discover that you can be an effective editor by cutting out everything that isn't absolutely necessary. Knowing where you're going in your conversation by being concise is a big step toward leadership and respect. People appreciate brevity in today's world.

-- Donald Trump (Think Like a Champion)

 

Generally, I tend to agree with this position, but with a specific exemption - sometimes there is need and value in putting completeness over brevity. Yes, in most cases it's beneficial to refrain from wandering all over the map. On occasion, however, a presentation needs to not only be complete but redundantly complete. Some things are so important that making sure all aspects are covered, and all participants are fully understanding all the angles and options is critical. If that means an extra half hour of "yeah, I got this," I argue that sometimes it's okay.

Bring snacks.

Now, all that said, I find it ironic that this advice, like much in his short book, Mr. Trump can't seem to heed, himself. Just his twitter feed alone puts the lie to the suggestion that he takes his own advice. And if you tuned in to any of his speeches where he goes off-script, well... enough said.

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ChrisSplaining: Trump on Wisdom

Knowledge and Wisdom

I'm going to take a random quote from a book written by our current President, Donald Trump and give my opinion on it. Call it ChrisSplaining if you will. And I'll try to do one per day, or at least once per weekday (since I do like my weekends).

There are many roads to wisdom and many wonderful books to educate us on our way, but the first step is to take the time to read and learn. Wisdom will come provided you give it a chance to develop.

 

From "Think Like a Champion" by Donald Trump

 

This quote, and I swear it was picked randomly (someone else picked the page number) is particularly interesting in that it demonstrates the top problem I believe our President has when it comes to knowledge and wisdom: he suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, DK states that those who know very little about a topic tend to think they know the most. They simply don't know what they don't know and presume that their limited knowledge is close to complete.

Mr. Trump seems to feel that true wisdom can come from simply learning an amount of raw knowledge and waiting for it to magically develop. He makes no mention of validating that your learning is complete or covers the full breadth of a topic. And he most notably fails to realize that wisdom comes more from experience than knowledge. Knowing a thing is not the same as understanding a thing.

Or, as a wise person once said, "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."

The danger here is in thinking you have wisdom when you do not. In a President, this danger is of the highest order.

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$#!& Happens

$#!& Happens

The failure at the Oscars demonstrates a good point to remember: $#!& Happens. My take is that after much analysis, we will find that there were duplicate stacks of envelopes on both sides of the stage, and the wrong envelope was given to the presenters (Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway). Clearly, Mr. Beatty was confused and hoping someone would notice the problem and correct it. Unfortunately, it took a little longer. 

It's interesting to note that there is a protocol for such things, and in an article from 2015, that protocol is outlined. It's also interesting to see that this has, indeed, happened before, albeit not for the "top" award. 

The bottom line is that a mistake was made, it was spotted, it was corrected. It was embarrassing, but what in life isn't? People will be held accountable, apologies will be made, and everyone handled it with as much poise and grace as possible. Nobody died. I say Bravo.

If only every failure in life could go so well.

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