Donald Trump and His Failure to See His Own Success Trap Unfold

Joe Duncan

Proof That The Donald’s Business Savvy is Nonexistent

All of the perceived success in Donald Trump’s life is a lie. He inherited his fortunes and doesn’t know the first thing about running a successful business, let alone a country. Not only is this evinced by his complete and total failure to mount an adequate response to the coronavirus pandemic but also in his complete inability to apply the very business savvy he claims that he has to running a solid campaign in the year 2020.

The first mistake has cost us 220,000 American lives at the time of this writing, with anywhere from 130,000 to 210,000 being preventable had we rolled out a decent strategy at the outset.

The second mistake is what cost him the election.

In the lead-up to the election, as the second presidential debate transpired, we saw a more mundane Trump, almost as if he’d been medicated with the kind of psych meds he’s needed all along, and the candidates were on more of an even keel of coherence and ability to clearly formulate ideas.

Trump was still much more aggressive than Biden, but at least this time he was able to form complete sentences without being totally immersed in attempts to interrupt Biden at every turn, playing the bully that his base has always loved him for.

But there’s just one problem…he was still pandering to his base…

…he fell into a success trap…

What’s a success trap? A success trap is a trap that businesses often fall into where they rely on the conditions of past success to try to succeed into the future in a changing world that brings about changing environments, necessitating changing responsibilities and evolving paradigms.

As John Spacey says for Simplicable:

A success trap occurs when early successes lead a society or organization to develop structures, processes, infrastructure, technologies and culture that become a liability when things change.

Imagine for a second you built your entire office infrastructure on landline phones, investing heavily in those landline phones in the mid-2000s. You spent vast amounts of cash training your employees to use and operate those phones, only to discover a few years down the road that your business needs had all switched over to an app-based structure and the evolution of the technology pushed you out of your own market.

Kodak didn’t anticipate the transition from analog to digital photography and they paid the price. Blockbuster didn’t anticipate the transition from video stores to online streaming services and where are they now? Big box retailers like CompUSA and Circuit City didn’t see the looming retail apocalypse that was posed by giants like Amazon coming up at much lower costs and they doubled down on their original business models instead of adapting.

That’s a success trap. It’s doubly so when you double down on the things that worked the first time around instead of listening to the external cues of the world and adapting accordingly.

As the famed biologist Charles Darwin said perfectly, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”

Success traps also come in the form of company culture or, in this case, campaign culture. And Donald Trump’s campaign now finds itself in a success trap. He doubled down on his angry 2016 rhetoric that we’re all tired of, he was pushing dangerous conspiracy theory narratives that only his base understands, he was not engaging undecided voters or trying to win over new people, he was basically trying to perform the same exact tricks that worked once as if they’ll work again.

But 2020 is a very different year from 2016. The electorate has changed, voters’ attitudes have changed, and the apathy of those who don’t support him has been riled up to awaken the fury within us — we were ready to stop him and vote him out at all costs and that's exactly what happened.

Trump's failure was that he only has one style, one message, and he couldn't embrace anything new and augment it into his campaign model.

It’s like a one-hit-wonder, something the eighties that I grew up in was full of, people who came up with a musical formula that worked one time, only to find that they weren’t keeping pace with the evolution of the music world as a whole, forever being known for that one big hit they had and nothing more.

Does anyone remember who sang that song Tainted Love? I know a couple of music nerds, maybe some DJs, and a few Goths jumped up to tell me, “Of course I do! It’s Soft Cell!” But the vast majority of the public has no idea who Soft Cell is, even if they sang a very popular song they all know and love. They just know that song as the one that plays at the bowling alley or the mall. And Trump, like Soft Cell, was quickly on his way to becoming a one-hit-wonder.

Trump is a one-trick-pony, and he hadn’t been doing the work to bring in new people, to evolve to a political landscape that’s changing, and to learn new strategies to defend his presidency. That's why he lost. He was the incumbent and he just tried the same “drain the swamp” rhetoric that got him elected not realizing that he is the swamp.

You can’t run on the message that the government’s bad and out to get you when you yourself are in charge of the government. That's like pointing the finger back at yourself. All you’re showing is that you’re either evil and the one out to get people; or that you’re impotent and you can’t control the very thing you’ve been elected to be in charge of. And then he had the audacity to ask for a second term?

Now, Trump's days living in the White House are numbered. On January 20th, 2020, President Biden will be sworn in to take his place.

How someone with the supposed business savvy that Trump claims to have could miss the fact that he’s clearly falling into a success trap, I have no idea, unless, of course, he doesn’t have the business acumen he claims he does and is little more than a showman and a fraud.

As the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus once said, "All is in flux," and Donald failed to realize that, which brings me to my last question: are you paying attention to the "flux" in your life?

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