Be a General
I am the chairman and president of The Trump Organization. I like saying that because it means a great deal to me. There are almost twenty thousand members of this organization at this point. I did a print ad once in which I declared, “I only work with the best.” That statement still stands.
More and more, I see that running a business is like being a general. Calling the shots carries a great deal of responsibility, not only for yourself, but for your troops. Your employees’ lives, to a large extent, are dependent on you and your decisions. Bad strategy can end up affecting a lot of people. This is where being a leader takes on a new dimension. Every decision you make is an important one, whether there are twenty thousand people working for you or just one.
If you are careful when finding employees, management becomes a lot easier. I rely on a few key people to keep me informed. They know I trust them, and they do their best to keep that trust intact.
For example, when I need to know something about my casinos and hotels in Atlantic City, I know I can call up Mark Brown, my CEO, and get a fast and informed answer. If I call Laura Cordovano over at Trump Park Avenue and ask about sales, she’ll give it to me exactly as it is. If I call Allen Weisselberg, my CFO, he’ll tell me what I need to know in twenty words or less. My senior counsel and Apprentice adviser, George Ross, can do it in ten words or less. Find people who suit your business style and you’ll have fewer problems to deal with as time goes on.
Good people equals good management and good management equals good people. They have to work together or they won’t work together for very long. I’ve seen good management get by with mediocre people, and I’ve also seen excellent people get stuck in the mires of bad management. The good managers will eventually leave, followed by the good workers, and you will be left with a team that gets along because they’re all mediocre. Save yourself time by getting the best people you can. Sometimes this can mean choosing attitude over experience and credentials. Use your creativity to come up with a good mix.
Creative people rarely need to be motivated–they have their own inner drive that refuses to be bored. They refuse to be complacent. They live on the edge, which is precisely what is needed to be successful and remain successful.
One of my former employees was in charge of
a new project. He had done a thorough and ac-
ceptable job, but I felt that something was missing. It wasn’t fantastic, which, knowing his capabili- ties, it should have been. I decided to challenge his creative ego by mentioning that it was fine but seemed to lack inspiration. I politely asked him whether he was genuinely interested in the proj- ect and suggested that perhaps that might be the problem.
Well, the guy went ballistic on me. He was deeply insulted.
And, as you can probably guess, the revision he turned in was terrific. The difference between the first draft and the final version was incredible. I didn’t slam the guy because he was usually demanding of himself and had never let me down. But I had to give him a jolt.
Generals motivate their soldiers; they inspire them when it is necessary. They do the same for their highest-ranking officers. We all need a boost now and then. Learn how to tailor your method to the personalities you are managing.
Keep the big picture in mind while attending to the daily details. This can seem like a balancing act, but it is absolutely necessary for success in running a company.
Excerpted from Trump: How to Get Rich by Donald J. Trump with Meredith McIver. Copyright © 2004 by Donald J. Trump with Meredith McIver. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.