Most of you will think Most Valuable Player, but those in software development may think Minimum Viable Product. Both are off-target. Think Minimum Viable President.
Mr. Trump: Americans, whether we voted for the sitting President or not, have some standards we expect from our leader.
Many of us are concerned that you do not meet our minimum requirements for the position of Commander in Chief. Here’s my list:
The ability to properly write in your native language
In many of your Tweets you make simplistic errors in the use of the English language. I know 140 characters isn’t much, but it can be done!
I hounded my children to take the English language to heart. When you use it correctly it improves the impression you make on people. Smart people with poor grammar sound ignorant. It matters.
Example: Writing on Twitter
There are many out there, but this is my favorite. First up, if you intended to infer that Judge James Robart is a poor judge, you missed the mark. As you put “so-called” in front of judge, it modified judge and you inferred that James Robart is not a judge. He is a judge. There is empirical evidence that proves he is a judge. It’s also on the wall of his office.
If you wanted to say he was a poor judge, you should have said, “…of this incompetent judge…” You would have to do research to prove this, however, so substituting “In my opinion” for “The opinion…” makes this sentence correct. To reiterate, use “In my opinion, this incompetent judge…” and do your homework by finding examples of Judge Robart making bad judgments. People will question your opinion, but you are publically tweeting your opinion. You already made that choice.
Drilling down on the use of the word opinion, technically Judge Robart didn’t make his opinion public. He made his ruling public. He found the ban unconstitutional, rather than not to his liking.
There is no need to use a hyphen with the words so called: they do fine without. And, neither does law enforcement need to be hyphenated.
I would caution you against using an exclamation point on this tweet. It makes it sound hopeful rather than concrete. A period would have made a stronger statement; however, it is not actually grammatically incorrect. Your call, but in my opinion the period would have been the good choice.
The ability to speak well in public
One of your biggest jobs is to inform us, and public speaking rule number one is Know Thy Audience. When addressing a group of five-year-olds it’s common to use their language. Go ahead and tell them not to worry, it’s enough. But, I recommend when speaking to adults that you use language that actually has meaning for adults; include specifics that support your statements and foster trust.
Example: National Prayer Breakfast Speech
I’ll only touch on the reference to The Apprentice and praying for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings. While I think many Americans cringe at the idea that our President had a reality TV show, I think more believe the joke was in poor taste. Pray in public for people without food, not people with bad ratings, if you want us to take you seriously. It is too early for jokes, and you are not a natural comedian, so play to your strengths, don’t indulge in your weaknesses. Being a funny comedian is not on the MVP list.
Just don’t worry? Really? We are adults, we work and pay taxes. We own homes and raise children. We have checkbooks and drivers’ licenses. I don’t believe that saying “Just don’t worry about that,” is an effective way to speak to adults. Please tell us why we shouldn’t worry. We need real answers, not patronization. We need specifics.
For myself, you saying, “Just don’t worry” made me very worried. I might not have been as worried if you had not said that. It actually had the reverse effect. If someone speaks to me like a child, I instantly know that they don’t know me, understand me, or respect me.
So watch for those statements that backfire. Do a little homework about your audience, cut the platitudes and talk to us in plain, useful language that informs. I, for one, actually got no information from your 19:38 minute speech. Don’t waste your audience’s time. Not wasting a customer’s time is a top business rule. Apply it.
Demonstrate an understanding of government
It is imperative for a CEO to understand the product of their company in the business world. How would you guide a company if you didn’t know what it produced and, more importantly, how it was produced. I source that under common sense.
You have demonstrated publicly your lack of understanding on how our government is structured and how it functions. While a degree in Economics is a good thing for a President, it would be reassuring to know that you understand government and law, as that is now your vocation.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go to college. I started working at 17 and bootstrapped it to a great career in digital technology. I did that by gaining an understanding of the particular discipline I was working in, and the responsibilities of my role, so I knew what I was doing and could speak intelligently about it. You don’t have to go to law school to understand your new position. Government is taught in high school. If you missed it here, is a handy link.
Having owned and operated two small businesses, I for one was hopeful that a business perspective might enlighten government, cut through some bureaucracy and rhetoric. Alas, what I see is more reminiscent of a top-down corporation where chaos is acceptable, where uninformed decisions are made too quickly, and positioning and posturing the priority. Anybody else?
You can do it! Get that Cliff’s Notes book, stop tweeting, and start reading. And please don’t forget that a nation is not a corporation.
Be a strong, yet compassionate leader
I don’t think you are weak. Anybody? But strength without compassion makes a bully. A bully is not empathetic. And as leader of the melting pot, I think empathy would be very useful. I think being a bully would be a liability.
You promised that you were the candidate of compassion. But that begs the question, “what is compassion?”
Webster has a pretty good definition: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. I’d switch sympathetic to empathetic, but I feel there is a word missing, and that word is acceptance. Without acceptance of what is, one cannot begin to put compassion into action. We must embrace what is as true for another, even if we find it distasteful, and only then can we begin to help. It is easy to be compassionate to what is deemed good, but how about what one finds bad? Can you accept that illegal immigrants are in pain and trying to solve a problem in their life, and build them a solution instead of a wall? Can you empathize with the woman who makes the difficult decision on whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, and not take away her right to good health care? You don’t know what is true and best for each of us. Compassion is inclusive of all. You have a chance to be a hero. To quote a woman whose son I dated, “Don’t blow it, Don.” He did, but that’s another story.
I know that we are asking you to have compassion on a global scale, and that is a very tough job. Simply changing your language could go a long way to assuring us you are becoming the President of Compassion like you said you would be. “I understand the media has a difficult job, but….” Name calling (the FAKE NEW @nytimes) is not compassionate; it is egotistical, which is a whole other thing.
And, please, ever consider lifting limits on torture? The human race has had to understand over and over that torture does not solicit good information. People who are in pain will say anything to make it stop. It is that simple. And torture is inhumane. I want to believe you are smarter than that, and didn’t need to ask 100 experts.
A simple Google search came up with about 15,200,000 results on compassionate leadership. I think they are onto something. Call the Dalai Lama if you are in doubt. Compassion for the whole world is his only job. I know he’d pick up.
I personally don’t care how much money you made last year, but, when you refuse to release your tax returns it just gives people more reason to think you are up to something. (Again, I’m citing common sense.) Is it legal for you to withhold your tax returns? Finding the answer is a homework assignment for you.
Release them. Pull the band-aid off. If you owe back taxes, pay them. Say you are sorry and get on with it.
Between your tax returns and unsubstantiated illegal votes, some of this is getting boring.
If you simply tell us the truth–your truth to the best of your ability–and are transparent with us, it would help us to support you.
Five simple rules to learn and put into practice, and I guarantee you will be a more effective, supported leader. As you have the job for 3.916667 years, I hope you will consider. Below is a quick reminder card for your wallet.
I would be happy to tutor in any of these topics. No charge. You can find me on LinkedIn.
Kathy Alley is a tech pro who also writes and paints. And All is Made Whole Once Again is her first published fictional work, and is the story of a mother and daughter coming to grips with a not-okay world. A native of the PNW, Kathy enjoys life there with her husband and two crazy Australian Shepherds.