What Does Dan Gilbert Have in Common with Donald Trump? Chris Christie is Not Far Behind . . . Literally!

There is a lot to admire about successful business people. Because they made millions or perhaps billions it sometimes overshadows their own inadequacies. It could even beg the question: are they successful because of themselves or in spite of themselves?

Everyone has an Achilles Heel. Everyone, the most successful and the most human of us have a blind spot. The lucky ones have correctly identified the blind spot and are working to minimize the things that get in their way. The unlucky ones, rich as they may be, don’t look in an honest mirror or don’t even want to have an honest mirror in which to look, people who will give honest feedback.

In the same seven day period President Trump sunk to new levels in a Tweet to morning hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski AND Cleveland CAVS owner Dan Gilbert was rebuffed by the “date” he was courting. He hurt his team’s chances of basketball continuity and perhaps legacy by the way he and David Griffen parted ways. (As in no General Manager has had a contract renewed with Gilbert as owner) and then was spurned by the candidate he romanced.

What they have in common is the inability to look in the honest mirror.

Both Trump and Gilbert seem to have lost (if they ever had) the ability to see their actions as others see them. This is rule #12 in my 50 Rules of Communication: the audience drives everything. It doesn’t matter how successful you are or what your accomplishments are, you the speaker can’t decide if you are effective, appropriate or right. The audience decides.

Yes if you are a business owner or successful at whatever you do, you may think you can do whatever you want. Perhaps there is no one to tell you NO, you can’t do something. But the thing is at some point the world will tell you your action is not OK. You can’t decide for you audience, not in the long run. In the short run it might seem like you can control everyone: your employees and would be employees. But you can’t.

People still have minds of their own and their minds can’t always be bought or dazzled.

The CAVS are in an important free agent time, and no one seems to be manning the ship. Or we know who is in the captain’s seat, and candidates don’t like that captain. It’s not on LeBron or Lue, it is on Gilbert. And he can’t always get on his plane, fly across the country, and ask forgiveness in order to get what he wants.

Trump has said what he wanted to say, done whatever he wanted to do and so far gotten away with it. The audience will decide. It always does.

Chris Christie thought he could do whatever he wanted as the governor who closed the beaches over the July 4th holiday. WHEN NO ONE was allowed on the beaches, not Boy Scouts or homeowners, he went and sat on the beach. He thought he could.

He then defended that he was the only one within miles on the beach by saying, “run for governor and you can have a residence”.

There is a reason he is the lowest rated governor in popularity. THE AUDIENCE DECIDES.


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