Winning big requires bold action


Has it really been one year already?  Election Day, November 8, 2016, marked the date when the most improbable candidate for U.S. president in American history was elected to the White House.

President Donald J. Trump knows all too well that there is no such thing as an easy win.  But sometimes, winners make it look easy by executing a well conceived strategy even when the odds are stacked against them.  He broke with longstanding political tradition, running an out-of-the-box campaign, besting 16 Republican rivals and the formidable Clinton-DNC machine on his way to the White House.

Pundits still scratch their heads trying to figure out how Trump did it.  It shouldn't be a shock.  He led the GOP polls in the Republican primaries from start to finish.  Yet skeptics abounded.  Without the Latino, black, and female vote, Trump had no chance, stated the media.  Even some in the "Republican Establishment" lined up against him, firing full frontal attacks.  Negative approval ratings were guaranteed to sink his candidacy.  Everyone wrote him off.

Everyone except for Trump himself.  Several times during the long campaign, he told reporters that if he lost the election, he would consider his entire effort to have been a waste of time.  But it wasn't fear of defeat that kept Trump going.  What got him to the White House was a full steam ahead approach, backed by enormous self-confidence that methodically ran roughshod over the competition.

"A bold action can generate an incredible amount of momentum," says Eric Beaudan, author of Creative Execution and an expert with more than two decades of experience in leadership assessment and executive development.  "It can propel an organization toward its new direction and turn doubters into supporters."

This is exactly what Trump did.  Here are four takeaways Beaudan says you need to know, whether you are a candidate for public office, a military strategist, or even a business or nonprofit about to embark on a major campaign:

1) Develop a Compelling Strategy

This strategy needs to be understood and accepted by everyone on your team and must clearly outline what you will – and won't – do to achieve outstanding results.

2) Engage in Candid Dialogue

Although Mr. Trump certainly goes by his gut, he generally bounces his ideas off people within his circle.  Candid dialogue is a two-way street.  It also means, as a leader, opening yourself to other people's ideas and being willing to take criticism.  Encouraging a culture of candor drives innovation and builds success. 

3) Establish Clear Roles and Accountability

When managers and team members understand how they fit into the bigger strategic picture, it cements their commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve the company's goals.

4) Take Bold Action

How did Google become the world's leading search engine?  Only after they lost a big account to Yahoo.  Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were on a flight back home when, instead of licking their wounds, they ordered the pilot to turn back so they could tell the customer one last time why he made the wrong decision.  Their strategy worked, and that's how they won the account of AOL Europe.

Whether you lead a company or a nonprofit, or want to be president of the United States, exhibit visible and bold leadership, and you, too, can create a winning culture that breeds success against all odds.