“You’re Fired!”

The last few days have revealed the true character of the President and his inability to lead.

Why have prominent CEOs abandoned our President, Donald Trump, a fellow business person?

As is his wont, President Trump blames them, not himself, for their departures.

Successful leaders recognize Donald Trump is neither a leader nor a businessman.  His speech and behavior defy both labels.

kellyGeneral John Kelly, a proven leaders, seems to telegraph this assessment in his facial expression and body language at President Trump’s unhinged press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Real leaders do not act like Trump.

Leadership in business, the military and politics is meant to provide clarity, to inspire and to unite.  The true test of this capacity occurs at times of crisis.  At such moments, the first utterances prove the measure of the person in charge.

For this reason, the past two weeks were President Trump’s “moments”:  last week, with the threat of World War III and this week, the threat of Civil War II.

For both, especially over the weekend of crisis in Charlottesville, he failed. Miserably.  The failure cannot be explained away as “missed opportunity,” which is like arguing you could have passed the two-day bar exam if you had had another few days.

By casting blame on “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, and then circling-back to defend this indefensible utterance, he displayed his incompetence—his moral rootlessness, his megalomania and his constitutional inability to inspire.

Truly successful business people do not act like Trump.

Sitting on one of his advisory panels must have been painful.  Leaders of industry surely do not see in the new President someone they would emulate.

For leadership, the prominent business book, Good to Great by Stanford Business School professor Jim Collins, provides metaphoric examples of great leadership:  great leaders look out the window when things go well and in the mirror when things go poorly.  Bad leaders– non-leaders–do the reverse.

A great leader is someone who does not thrust personal interests ahead of the needs of the company or organization.  Instead, she inspires great collective effort and loses herself in service of the larger organizational mission.

By this definition, it is hard to see how President Trump could have been a successful businessman.  For anyone who has been a business leader, judging Mr. Trump’s business acumen by the measure of “The Apprentice” (even with its “great ratings”) sounds like comparing a bucket of water to the ocean.

Trump according to Trump has built a “beautiful multi-billion-dollar company.”  By now, of course, we can adjust for the effects of self-promotion and marketing hyperbole.  We can also take into account the several bankruptcies left, like the Jersey shore after hurricane Sandy, in the aftermath of the beautiful Trump businesses.

Given the paucity of his financial disclosure, perhaps we will never know.

I do not mean to suggest that pre-President, Mr. Trump did not amass a fortune.  Self-promoters often do (look at the Kardashians).

Nor do I mean to suggest an absence of business models that can become wildly profitable through bluster, fear, intimidation and the extortion of loyalty (look at the Mafia).

Bad “leaders” must go, and quickly.

As chairman of a corporate board of directors, I once had to fire our company’s CEO. Among other things, the CEO had been caught lying to the board, lying to our shareholders and damaging our brand with customers.

The CEO tried to dodge the facts with bombast and bluster.

Because I supported the CEO’s hiring in the first place, it was not easy to admit error.   However, as “you’re fired” left my lips, I knew the welfare of all of our company’s employees and the quality of our brand depended upon this person’s immediate departure.

I would have been satisfied with a resignation.








To Blog or Not to Blog? That is the Question.

Looking for a more constant outlet to strenuously defend fundamental values and to persistently expose falsehoods and fallacies.

2-1I love this high school picture of my Mom.  Among all the things she accomplished in her life, she was a writer of plays, novels and inspiring letters.  She was also an avid reader, who surrounded herself (and her kids) with books.  She was consistently thoughtful, passionate and principled.  I strive to follow her example.

My own reading and writing has most often been connected to my work.   As a lawyer, I read the law and wrote mind-numbing contracts and prospectuses.  As an investment banker and businessman, I have studied financial reports and industrial analysis, and written book-length descriptions of companies and projects.

Then I ran for the U.S. Senate in 2016.  This was a drink-from-a-firehose education, like doing a post-graduate program in months instead of years.

With this experience came deeper understanding of the issues we confront as Idahoans and Americans.  It also motivated me to a passionate purpose: to promote factual clarity and reason in what appears to be an officially-sanctioned atmosphere of “fake news” and fallacy.

In the clearest and simplest terms I can muster, I seek to correct factual misrepresentation and logical absurdity–and to beat back the impending threats to our most fundamental values.

For these reasons, I have written about honesty, trust, acceptance, compassion, respect and decency.  I have given priority to exposing the factual errors and illogic behind travel bans, “extreme vetting,” “repeal and replace,” and the “Con-Con” movement that threatens to muck up our Constitution.

The Idaho Statesman and the Post-Register have been exceedingly gracious in publishing my work (and I will continue to submit articles to those and other papers).  However, I am looking for a more constant outlet to strenuously defend our values and to persistently expose falsehoods and fallacies, including those emanating from our state and federal governments.

To blog or not to blog?  I will blog, and I hope you will join me.