Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Playing the Trump Card

- by Christopher Howard

Einstein once said, "We can't solve a problem at the same level of thinking we used to create the problem." Relative to business, if we want to move past financial barriers and increase our own ability to make monëy, we've got to explore new ways of thinking and behaving beyond our normal parameters. In other words, sometimes going out of our minds is a good thing, especially when we can get into someone else's head like billionaire genius Donald Trump.

Business Profile:
Son of a contractor, six billion dollar net worth, nearly half the New York skyline and seven new skyscrapers going up in his name, four golf courses, three best-selling books, the number one top rated reality show "The Apprentice" and a soon-to-be-released Trump credït card. Even with his casinos $1.8 billion in dëbt, Trump is seemingly invincible.

How has one man been able to achieve so much? What values and assumptions drive him? What traits, attitudes and strategies set him apart from all the average wage earners and business owners out there? And more importantly, how can you begin to adopt these strategies yourself to propel yourself on to massive success? Let's break down just a small portion of the mindset that has allowed Donald Trump to create all that he has.

Formula for Success:
If Trump were to give us his own success formula it might be Efficiency + Discipline = Power, power being the ability to act effectively to get things done. Trump starts each day by waking up at 6 a.m. to read several newspapers in order to keep on top of what's going on in the world. He doesn't leave the office until at least 6: 30 p.m. every day. Although he works long hours he maintains the attitude that it's not how many hours you put in, it's what you get done that's important. As he puts it in
The Art of the Deal, "You consistently do the things that you know will get
results. You push forward, then you push forward some more, and you nevër let your adversaries see you worried."

Trump himself also credïts toughness as the secrët to his survival. Throughout his schooling in a military academy, Trump respected a teacher by the name of Theodore Dobias, a former Marine drill sergeant who would slap him around if he spoke back to him. Till this day, Trump will fight when he feels he's up against a wall, even when it's financially risky. He even cultivates this tough image, knowing that the other side "won't even bother asking for certain things when they think you are invincible."

Personality Profile:
Those are some of the strategies and character traits that have made the man. Herë are a few values and beliefs you can try on for size: Trump has been quoted as saying, "Monëy in itself is not a very interesting commodity. What is fascinating, to me at least, is the game we all play.
If you have a striving personality, the challenge matters most, not the reward." He put his monëy (and the city's monëy) where his mouth is on his proposed deal to renovate New York's crumbling Commodore Hotel. Where everyone else saw a lost cause, Trump saw potential and boldly asked the city for an unprecedented forty year tax abatement to turn it around.
As an overall strategy, Trump shoots for the moon and keeps pushing until he gets the moon. His success today is essentially built on that bit of bravado.

It's also become a Trump hallmark to be the best and out-shine the rest.
After New York spent six years trying unsuccessfully to re-build Central Park's ice-skating rink, Trump stepped in completing it in less time for less monëy. He did it by choosing a Canadian contractor because, "Ice skating is to Canadians what baseball is to Americans - the national pastime." In fact, Trump values quality so highly he is notorious for hiring the most-qualified people from his competitors and out-paying them.

If you're going to think at all, you might as well think big when learning from the super successful, pick and choose which aspects of the billionaire's mindset serve your own values and your company's mission. Expanding your perspective will expand your choices and therefore your horizons. This week, see how you would run your business differently if you tried on Trump's shoes for size. How would you make decisions if you looked at life as a game and monëy as the means for keeping score? What bïgger challenges might you take on for greater rewards? When problem-solving consider, "What would 'The Donald' do?" Be able to recognize valuable opportunïties where others see crumbling lost causes.

And next time you go into negotiations, play your Trump card and see how it can pay off in spades.


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