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Trump's Business Skills Drive His Presidency

Trump's Business Skills Drive His Presidency

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs a copy of his book: "Trump: The Art of the Deal," at a 2015 townhall event in Derry, N.H. (Mary Schwalm/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 16 February 2017 10:15 AM EST

People are constantly asking me, "What makes the president tick?"

I reply, "The answer to your question is right under your nose. Read 'Trump: The Art of the Deal.'"

If people who are struggling to understand President Donald J. Trump just took their time for due diligence, they would realize that there is a method to his professional life.

There are principles he adheres to, protocols he follows.

Here are some deal points that will tell you what you can expect from President Trump:

Chapter 1: “A Week in the Life.” In 1987, he liked flexibility in his schedule. You cannot be "imaginative or entrepreneurial if you have too much structure." He loves the phone and the ability to touch as many as 50 to 100 people per day. In addition, he likes brief meetings. He can manage as many as 12 per day, with each meeting averaging about 10 to 15 minutes. His typical business day officially starts at 9:00 am and ends at 6:30 pm. He rarely stops for a formal lunch. And, when he retires to his residence he continues to make calls — well into the evening. There was no Twitter (or "tweets") in 1987 when he published his book. We can assume phone calls at that time took the place of them.

Chapter 2: "The Elements of the Deal." Trump aims high. He will keep pushing and pushing to get what he's after. He will settle for less but only if he feels that is what it will take to close a deal. When a deal is closed, he will always claim he got the best of that deal. Deal-making is an ability you are born with. It is not about how smart a person is, it is about their gut instincts — and a person’s ability to act on them successfully. So, what impresses Trump is a person’s track record, instincts and impression. Knowing what you know about the president, think of the ways he has applied the strategies below to his campaign and to governing so far. To be successful you must: 

  • Think big. In 1987 it was skyscrapers and casinos. Today, it is immigration, repeal and replace Obamacare, tax reform, etc.
  • Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself. Get a deal you can work with — plan for the worst and accept the best. Compromise is a necessary component of getting a deal. 
  • Maximize your options. Be flexible. Never get attached to a one-way approach to closing the deal. Consider many approaches, and then settle on the best.
  • Know the market. Take counsel from the best and brightest who know their "market." Cabinet secretaries are the best and brightest in their "markets" and that is who was hired and that is the counsel he will take. By and large, like the president himself, he has hired government "outsiders" who were successful business professionals in the area of the departments they now lead.
  • Use your leverage. Never show desperation for a deal. Deal from strength, using all the tools available to you to project strength. Sometimes that requires "imagination and salesmanship." The U.S. government and the president have a great deal of leverage to exert, economically, militarily, politically, etc.
  • Enhance your location. It is not about location. It is about getting the best deal that will yield the best return. So with governing it can be said that if you want to help a city rife with housing needs — building government housing in one location of Detroit may not be as attractive perhaps as homesteading a blighted area in another. Many more people could be helped at a much lower cost to the government.
  • Get the word out. You can have the best policy and solution, but if the people don’t know it then they can’t appreciate it. You must generate interest with your own words. You must create a "buzz." You must create excitement. Trump is about selling himself and thus he sells his products. He does not rely on others to sell. If it is a big enough deal — he does it himself. The more sensational or outrageous the sale, the better, because the press eats it up. He does not mind controversy and relishes a good fight with the media. He uses "bravado" as a tool of promotion. He plays to peoples' fantasies, like, "Making America Great Again." He realizes that people don’t always thing as big as he does but he can inspire them by giving them hope and a dream that could become reality. Puffery is allowed as part of the sale because it is a tool allowed in the marketplace.
  • Fight back. Trump does not back down when attacked. Sometimes the only choice is confrontation. Trump will fight back harder than the actual attack. And, he will fight back on multiple fronts, i.e. courts, press, etc. He never gives up.
  • Deliver the goods. Trump realizes that after all the hype, promotion and excitement there must be a deliverable. You have to be able to talk a good game but in the end you must deliver. The heart of getting a great deal is to have the best brand behind it. The U.S. is the best brand on the market for a president to work with to accomplish an objective.
  • Contain costs. Spend what is needed — but no more. If you feel you are being taken advantage of pick up the phone and let the other party know. Even if the complaint is minor compared to the overall cost of a project it is important to let contractors know that you will not be taken advantage of. Haven’t we seen President Trump do this with Lockheed on the Strike Fighter?
  • Have fun. The excitement of making the deal is playing the game. He does not rehash or relive deals because he is on to the next one. He claims that if you enjoy what you do, you will be successful it is just that simple.

For more insights, read the book. Suffice to say, President Trump is more predictable and understandable if people took the time to learn about him by reading his own words and examples.

President Trump is applying his business principles to governing. He believes that by applying tried and true principles and protocols that made him a successful businessman he will be just as successful as president. "Trump: The Art of the Deal" was businessman Trump and is President Trump.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-2004. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.

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President Trump is applying business principles to governing. He believes that by applying tried and true principles and protocols that made him a successful businessman he will be just as successful as president.
art of the deal, governing, lockheed
Thursday, 16 February 2017 10:15 AM
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