Makarand Utpat

Ability to say “No”- Can Donald Trump win GOP Nomination?

It is said that high achievers and great leaders are good at saying “Yes” but also “No”. In fact, their ability to say “No” fuels how much they accomplish the tasks that they are saying “Yes” to. The logic is simple. By saying “No”, it frees up more time and they stay focused on important tasks at hand. It is considered as one of the success traits that many of us simply forget in the humdrum.

There are many many high achievers and the list can go on and on. Few examples are Sir Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Donald Trump,  Jack Welch, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg.

I recently read the story of Sir Richard Branson where he turned down high paying speaking engagement even after the invitee organization was willing to pay a premium price well above Sir Richard’s usual charges. Regardless of the consequence (e.g. not being able to earn hefty sum) he turned it down because he was focused on the tasks that he found were quite important than earning money.

In case of Donald Trump, he out rightly said “No” by refusing to participate in Fox News/Google GOP debate before Iowa Caucuses. Instead, he focused on doing the fundraiser the same night. Two days back, he skipped the GOP Town Hall moderated by Megan Kelly. The animosity he has towards Megan Kelly is well known. Many have characterized it as arrogance, cowardly act, lunatic behavior, male chauvinism, or lofty ego since the presidential candidate needs to be able to handle different situations and be able to deal with different personalities. Regardless, I thought it was remarkable for him to say “No” and take the heat from the TV / Newspaper media, knowing the exposure he would have got through the debate performances and TV media.

Whatever his beliefs or attitude- right or wrong, clearly, it was good to see the trait high achievers exhibit regardless of the circumstances they are in. They are prepared to face the consequences. E.g. In Sir Richard Branson’s case, he turned down the speaking engagement that would have earned him lucrative sum of money. In Donald Trump’s case, he refused to appear in GOP debate before Iowa caucus, that (probably) costed him precious votes or media exposure.

Clearly, just having the ability to say “No” is not enough. I am observing few other traits in Donald Trump that high achievers typically exhibit:

  1. Think Differently- Leaders think differently. Trump has set his own standards where he is bucking the political rules and have taken candidates head-to-head in non-traditional ways. He has been abashedly following it.
  2. Appeal to and Rally People behind a Clear Message- Leaders know how to appeal to people and rally people behind their message. In case of Trump, the message is about “Make America Great Again”. So far, the message is resonating well with people.
  3. Take Charge and Create Momentum- Leaders take charge and know how to create momentum. Through his simple messages, Trump is able to relate to people that are fed up off “the same old”. By winning 3 consecutive primaries, he has created a momentum that is likely to propel himself forward through Super Tuesday and beyond.
  4. Build Charisma and Credibility- Leaders build credibility through their charisma. Through the hit reality TV shows and many businesses and real estate empires he has built, he has established a charisma of a successful business tycoon. Trump is a brand in itself. Trump has created credibility in people’s minds where they see him getting things done, rebuilding America, and delivering successful results.
  5. Paint Future Outcomes- Leaders live in the future and paint a vision of the future. Through his “Make America Great Again” and relevant themes around it, he is able to paint the picture of future where he is assuring people that America can win again.

On the other hand, interestingly enough, he has not exhibited other important leadership traits as described in Debating Donald Trump’s Radical Leadership Style: Innovator or Narcissist?

Regardless of the pluses and minuses, I always believe that we can learn few things from everyone and Trump is no exception!

There is no denying that Donald Trump will remain a controversial figure for the foreseeable future. The road to the GOP nomination is long and arduous. Only time will tell if Trump can clinch the GOP nomination or not!