10 Lessons from the Trump-Kim Summit

Insights in Unconventional Leadership & Strategy ExecutionStrategic International Perspective 106 | Images Hyperlinked

MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS | 2018 EDITION | VOLUME 56

The Trump-Kim Summit was a symbolic win for Kim Jong-Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. But here are 10 insights in unconventional leadership and strategic execution lost in the coverage:

Trump's Maximum Pressure Campaign didn't get us here, but I'll leave it to history to validate.

The smarter inference is that the Trump-Kim Summit was a teachable feat in disruption and strategic execution. One where President Obama, a Nobel laureate, squandered a golden opportunity for world peace by shunning (images hyperlinked) a critical life and leadership skill:In leadership, as with success, perspicacity is often the friend of timing. But you can't hone the latter if like Dennis Rodman's detractors on Social Media obsessed with scoring cheap points, you're busy judging others on looks, background, affiliation or weirdness factor. For while to be clear, Trump is no good listener either, vision and his readiness to capitalize on opportunities makes him more decisive.

From American journalism to politics, pop culture, lost investment and great record or movie production deals, it is those wedded to conventional thinking — rigid and entrenched in their positions — who miss out. Indeed, in case you never heard of the late Dr. Wayne Dyer or learned the importance of not being too attached to anything, start here, and with the eavesdroppers image (on the left) after finishing.

Or like President Obama — who must be in deep regret mode — appear incompetent or weaker by comparison even when you're not. Even as in his case, his fiercely loyal fans spew vitriol instead of learning.

Americans are still having trouble processing the awkward optics of a toxic President scoring a Summit that logic suggests should have been an “Obama-Kim Summit” plus the “surrealism” of Dennis Rodman being the perfect courtier (opening quote above) and voice of reason eternally linked to the first-ever meeting of U.S. President and North Korean leader. Yet it's not rocket science. One sees it all the time if they commit to being more observant. From America to Asia, and beyond:

Most people — liberal-leaning or not — like to think they're open-minded when in fact their actions and intransigence prove otherwise. I have Chinese friends who look down on other Chinese for being “close-minded” while like President Obama, being unwilling to zoom out. That said, I've always had a problem with both the preconditions rhetoric and Republican hypocrisy on the issue.From onerous publication submission guidelines, barriers and rules bent on excluding prospects and creatives with solutions (e.g., must reside here, must be an expert, must-this-must-that) rather than casting a wider net, to Applicant Tracking Systems in hiring, you box yourself, your organization, or entire generations in when you assume your vision is the only valid one.

Whether you're a leader, myopic, politically apathetic business or other professional (itself a bad “default setting” to choose), a so-called Social Media influencer, or other celebrity with huge following, you do yourself and those who lookup to or think you're smart a disservice when you treat ideas or tweets from outside your clique like dust or a nuisance, simply because of where, from whom they originate, one's title, or lack of. For competent visionaries stay agile and flexible.Donald Trump has brought enough disrepute to the U.S. Presidency and was never Nobel Prize material nor leadership role model for kids, let alone marginally responsible adults. Yet, in his perspicacity as an opportunist, is an admirable quality I identify with. One best articulated by Napoleon Hill:To be clear, one doesn't always have to know where they're going. But a nose for opportunity and strong bias for action liberates visionary risk-takers — even cautious ones with bias for action — allowing them latitude or wiggle room to make it up as they go; in ways the pensive can only envy. For more than Korean Peninsular denuclearization, Trump did this for Trump; for the optics, with a middle finger at his "haters". And who can blame him and his notoriously toxic base for that.

In truth, the Trump-Kim Summit was always Kim Jong-Un's show. With Trump, President Xi, South Korea's Moon Jae-in, Japan's Shinzo Abe and other current world leaders, mere creatures of perfect timing, — lucky to have their names now attached to Korean Peninsula peace.

Smart leaders, like clear-eyed observers and a handful of Republicans, get it. Yet although the Trump Administration has been disingenuous about that fact — sanctions or not, 'fire and fury' or not — all the North Koreans, under the young, more worldly Kim Jong-Un ever wanted, was to extricate themselves from a costly decades-long isolation of their own making. A feat now likely underway. Moreover, where the Trump bested Obama's borrowed myopic “experts” and pundits decades-long views was: Friendship or war, for the sake of the oppressed North Koreans. Not the status quo. A view I've consistently shared in other 'Strategic International Perspective' series as well as in my tweets.Indeed with a vibrant non-nuclear South Korea right next door, the notion of nuclear weapons as a security deterrence — and regarding which Colin Powell famously said, and I paraphrase, “they can't eat [them]” — was always unsustainable. Something Trump, in hindsight, came to office looking to exploit. Namely, “kaizenpreneur” everything from Rodman to Kim Jong-Un's aspirations (click below) to failed U.S.-North Korea policies using his own “dictator” instincts into a win/win for both men.DPRK Human Rights matters. My body of work and tweets affirm that. However, there's a time for everything. A strategic maxim, itself rooted in the Bible. Hence, if you want to be a better leader, with high strategic execution IQ, mind the hyperlinks, and study my Leadership Manifesto:

A leader is a stable, tenacious, strategically oriented and highly accountable and disciplined executor, servant and enabler of vision, great ideas, great potential, quality, people and service in a way that ensures sustainability and continued success. (Click for clearer image).

To understand this definition, see in its entirety, the 2012 documentary Jaglavak, Prince of Insects, free on Hulu.

A person is a leader because they readily seize initiative and resourcefully tackle complicated challenges, intimidating, and commonly avoided problems while remaining courageous and wise enough to strategically “quit”, scale down or abort projects & missions.


A person is a leader because as a strategically oriented visionary and lifelong learner who is humble and pragmatic, they bring agility, context, risk management, critical and creative thinking, active listening, excellent communication, networking, human relations and negotiation skills; problem sensitivity, observational skills and an eclectic array of problem-solving skills that include the self-discipline to resist micro-managing and delegate tasks to those more capable.

A person is a leader because they are realists who hone, possess, hire or seek collaboration with those with a preternatural ability to sense and effectively neutralize deception in any power play. Know the laws. 

A person is a leader because they absolutely believe in, and consistently demonstrate Respect and Dignity for ALL individuals in the organization or those under their command without Fear, Favoritism, Amnesia, Prejudice, Trickery/Sabotage, Gimmickry/Cowardice and other Manipulative Malice. A person is a leader because their ethical compass, the linchpin of which is fair-mindedness, is crystal clear whatever the context, and importantly, non-negotiable. And therefore, free of corrupt influence. A good leader therefore hires not only for skill but also for attitude so as to maintain an a*shole-free and hence, productive work culture that is more than a breath of fresh air, as is the culture of Google. A person is a leader because whether they are formally in a position of power or not, they foster, advance and passionately execute with good foresight strong ideas that serve the public good, solidify organizational success and cohesion and enhance individual effectiveness in a way that motivates, and is worthy of emulation. And they never feel threatened by another's rise.

A person is a leader because they appreciate that the exemplification of good judgment begins with the courage and self-discipline to do what is right and ethical no matter how unpopular; to protect and serve by refraining from illicit pleasures that involve dehumanizing (e.g., celebrating, encouraging, applauding or tolerating the tearing down of some/one, for the benefit of) others. Indeed, a good leader understands that failure in this regard, diminishes them. A person is a leader because they view their existence as a calling: to serve, deliver and over-deliver value while enabling others (in the tribe, group, team, organization, country or those under their command) to be as great as they humanly can.

A person is a leader because they are so driven by productivity, efficient use of time and resources and powerful results that they are “close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate”. And it is for this reason that whatever the context, a good leader is unconcerned with, influenced, or intimidated by the status quo, popularity, so-called “superiors”, survivalism, careerism, political correctness, or a FoMO (fear of missing out) syndrome.

A person is a leader because as a fearless, highly accountable and disciplined disruptor, trendsetter or trailblazer, they DO NOT subscribe to mediocrity because as a fearless, highly accountable and disciplined disruptor, trendsetter or trailblazer, they DO NOT subscribe to mediocrity. Their façade-free, 'just the facts, ma'am' disposition wins and builds trust, itself a rare and hard currency in the marketplace of Machiavellian (office) politics and business competition. As such, they tirelessly endeavor to get the balance between Management and Leadership right by getting Emotional and Social Intelligence right. A person is a leader because he/she is a tireless embodiment of true excellence, tenacity and accountability. And in order to be the change agent they are, they must be prepared to deal with C.R.A.P. This is what makes a leader dare greatly, whatever the odds. And finally...

A person is a leader because their readily verifiable actions, body of work and character speak louder than the biased commendation of friend, self proclamations, or bitter accusation of foes. And they thrive on sacrifice and patience that is rare in an age of inattention, knowing that “inventing and pioneering require the willingness to be misunderstood for long periods of time”.

So the question then, is, will you be a Leader/Builder? Or a cynic, interfering with others' self-determination and potential, as Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos asks? Continue where other change agents hang out. Proceed below. Or for leadership consultation, contact me here, or here.

○ ○ ○Breakthrough Ideas for June 2018 (2 of 2) The Leadership Series (Vol. 3)

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