Part 1: President Trump - What happens next?

Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States of America. It was an unorthodox and, for most, an unexpected victory. Given that Donald Trump is an unusual choice for President Elect, everyone is wondering what happens next?  

The Integral Organization Model can shed light on this very topical, very frequently asked question.

By consolidating leadership, behavioral, organization and cultural models the Integral Organization Model provides a forecast into the dynamics of Trump’s Administration to predict possible future outcomes. Although the Integral Organization Model was not created with the USA Government in mind, it does have application to project what futures we may see. More details of the model can be found at “What is a Perfect Organization?” and at The Integral Organization Manifesto.

The futures predicted by the Integral Organization Model for the Trump administration do not make for encouraging reading. First we look at how Trump’s leadership, mission, organization and colleagues will play out per the Integral Organization Model. From this we can look at the possible futures we will see.

Leadership

  • Trump’s development level of leadership is at the Power stage. This is the, “take action” for the “here and now”. This uses short timeframe thinking reducing all issues into their simplest form, neglecting the more complex “there and then” futures thinking.
  • We can infer that Trump’s mode is at the power level through his use of the “I” pronoun; “I am very, very rich”, “I am going to make America great again”, “I know more than the Generals”, I am going to build a wall”, “I will go it alone if I have to”. It also shows in his respect for other powerful leaders like Vladimir Putin.
  • Power leaders centralize control and decision making and Trump will want to act as the decisive, decision making leader.
  • A decision is not a decision until the power leader say so and even then, due to short-term thinking, can easily be reversed because their decisions are based on short term symptoms rather than longer term underlying causes.
  • Power leadership demands loyalty where the supporters are rewarded and those perceived as against them are punished. This makes it difficult for open debate and alternative views to be aired.

Organization

  • The organization under a power leader becomes hierarchical.
  • Decisions are passed up the line of command for approval. This moves the Decision Equilibrium Point higher in the structure, slowing down decision making.
  • Hierarchical structures reduce the organization’s Vertical Leverage.
  • Short term results are demanded and failure is not tolerated. This leads to less risk taking and more self-protectionism.
  • The vertical silo walls become solidified as each department narrowly focuses on its role to ensure they deliver short term results.
  • Collaboration across departments becomes difficult, Horizontal Flow is lost as everyone falls victim to the Prisoner’s Dilemma. This especially plays out in budget negotiations across departments.

Mission Statements

  • The declared mission statement is to, “make America great again” with the tactic to “put America first”.
  • This excludes any thought of the broader mission statement; “let’s make the World great again”. This exclusion creates an “us versus the rest of the world” approach which is consistent with power leadership thinking.
  •  Getting the mission statement right is critical to create an effective organization.
  • The mission statement, “Making America great again”, doesn’t provide guidance on how to achieve this outcome, it is like, “let’s make more revenue”. It also needs nested sub-mission statements that provide guidance within the departments.
  • This lack of guidance, with short term pressure, leaves the departments anchored to the past and not looking at future possibilities. We see this play out in how start-ups disrupt the established firms in, “What makes a start-up successful?

Supporters/Cabinet Members/Employees

  • How did Donald Trump become elected the 45th President?
  • When we are hurting, when we have dropped to the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; survival and security, we look for a power leader to fight for us.
  • This was brilliantly written about by Robb Smith in his piece “The Morning After” highlighting the disconnect between the Globalists and the Tribalists.
  • It is also why we hire the wrong leaders.
  • The Cabinet team will include people with similar thinking to Trump’s power approach.
  • We will see a high level of turn over within the Cabinet members.
  • When the tactic is to “put America first”, the position of Secretary of State will be a difficult role to perform as it sits between America and the rest of the World.
  • If the power leader makes things worse for us and not better, we will seek a safer leader, one who is trusted and offers us a familiar “true way” that we can believe in.

Possible Futures

  • Decision making will be slower than expected and susceptible to constant changes due to a lack of a clear mission statement structure and longer term thinking.
  • Without Vertical Leverage, Trump will fall victim to Ross Ashby’s law of requisite variety: “only variety can destroy variety”. That is, the complexity of running America will end up in the Oval office if Trump insists on approving most decisions.
  • The Trump Administration will be internally focused, working on executing their roles in a vertical siloed structure.
  • For self-protection, transparency will disappear as people in America and the World play their cards closer to their chest.
  • The Trump administration’s internal focus, combined with the lack of external transparency, will make it difficult to get the balance right in making policies and decisions.
  • Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” will be active capitalising on opportunities that arise from ill-informed policies or decisions.
  • Other unintended consequences will arise due to power leaders not understanding Systems Thinking and as the father of Systems Thinking, Jay Forrester, explains;

“time after time I’ve done an analysis of a company, and I’ve figured out a leverage point…  …then I’ve gone to the company and discovered that there’s already a lot of attention to that point. Everyone is trying very hard to push it in the wrong direction!”

  • Unintended consequences like foreign countries and people protecting themselves against “putting America first” will be misunderstood and labelled as conspiracies.
  • The space on the world stage vacated by America will be filled by countries like China and Russia.
  • One of the biggest issues facing America is the division of opinion amongst its people, leading to major issues when implementing new policies. This will not ease under Trump who will look for simple, short term fixes to the problem like, “people just need to know me better”.
  • This division will show up in people’s reaction to this post.
  • Trump will grow tired of the demands of being President. In a democracy, the President works for the people and not the other way around.
  • Trump will not run for a second term.

Only time will tell what will happen with Trump’s presidency. Because the Presidency role is very public we have a unique opportunity to follow an organization, the American Government; its leadership, culture and decision making, and compare this against the research and models that are consolidated in The Integral Organization Model.

Stay tuned!