Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lessons From My Donald Trump Doll

The two-hour, live finale of the The Celebrity Apprentice airs tonight. I can't wait to see whether Trace or Piers will emerge victorious. I suspect that Donald Trump will pick Piers. Sure, Piers is ruthless, but he's proven time and again that he can raise copious quantities of cash and, really, isn't that what charitable fund raising is all about?

I absolutely loved The Apprentice when it debuted in January 2004. Knowing how crazy I was about the show, my wife bought me a talking Donald Trump doll. Here's a picture of my talking Trump doll (note the right hand raised and in the "cobra" position):

My fifteen-month old son loves it when I make the Trump doll utter one of its seventeen phrases. Listening to the Trump doll provides some real insight into American business culture. Consider the following, straight from the mouth of my Trump doll:

"Remember, the buck starts here." Initiative is paramount in American business culture. This extends beyond its obvious application to entrepreneurs. If you've worked with Americans, have you noticed how they'll step up to draft the document, volunteer to follow up or just generally take the lead in moving things forward?

"Have an ego. There's nothing wrong with ego." This follows from wanting to take the lead. As an American business person, you can't just think that you can get it done, you have to KNOW that you can get it done. And better than anybody else as well.

"Go with your gut instinct." Dithering is not acceptable in American business culture. Sometimes you have to make a decision, even if you would like more facts or time to contemplate. "Paralysis by analysis" isn't a problem in this country.

"Never give up--under any circumstances--never give up." Tenacity is one of the most admired business traits in American business culture. There's nothing quite like achieving victory after a dogged, tireless pursuit.

"Do you really think you're a good leader? I don't." Pride in one's leadership abilities is of paramount importance. Most American business people would rather be considered bad lovers than bad leaders.

"In my businesses you've gotta be tough. You underperformed and you let people walk all over you." Toughness is perhaps the most revered of characteristics that an American business person can have. So what happens if an American business person isn't tenacious enough, a good enough leader or tough enough? Well, he or she will probably hear something like:

"I should fire myself just for having you around. This one's easy for're fired."

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