We recently invited One Planet MBA lecturer Morgen Witzel, business theorist, consultant, lecturer and author of many management books, to advise President Donald Trump on his first 30 days in office.
You’ve had a chance to get your feet under the desk at the White House now, and – I think we must be honest with each other – it could be going better. Things aren’t really turning out as you had hoped, are they? Street protests, criticism in the press, judges overturning your executive orders; and worst of all, more and more people are making fun of you.
You wanted to be a leader who was respected, admired, even feared. Instead, you are turning into one that people laugh at. Oh, Donald. There is no sadder figure than a leader who is mocked. Do you really want to be the next Jeremy Corbyn?
But, the good news is, it’s not too late to turn things around. You can become a respected and admired leader, Donald, but first, you have to do a few simple things.
First, stop messing around on social media. People are starting to get the impression that you would rather spend time on Twitter than govern America. Just because you can tweet something doesn’t mean you have to. Listen to Melania; she’s been telling you this all along.
Second, remember that leadership isn’t about you. It’s about other people. As the rugby player turned philosopher Jonny Wilkinson recently said, you don’t get to call yourself a leader. Other people decide whether you are a leader. If you want to lead people, you have to be worthy of them; and that means all of them, Donald, not just the ones who voted for you.
Third, you have to get out of the White House – and off the golf course – and start leading by example. All those people who voted for you out in the rust belts, the unemployed and the underemployed who are expecting you to turn the economy around and give them meaningful work; they’re still waiting. Go to them, talk to them, listen to their needs and fears, and then enact some meaningful programmes for job creation and industrial strategy that will give them hope.
Stop messing about, Donald. Immigration controls and walls and withdrawing federal funding for abortion services will appease the right-wing nutters, but they’re not the ones who put you in power. Get rid of Bannon and Spicer and Conway and all the other power-hungry, greedy manipulators around you, and hire some real people onto your staff, people who understand what life is like for the majority of Americans. Leave Obamacare alone, it will cost more to dismantle it than to leave it in place.
You’ve spent too long in reality television, Donald. You can’t tell fantasy from fact any more. It’s time to get real. If you don’t, it’s not just history that will judge you. The present will have its say as well. If you want to survive your first term, Donald, then it’s time, as one of your aides said, to get with the programme.
Morgen Witzel, Fellow, University of Exeter Business School