Dr. Andrew Wittman Leadership Speaker & Mental Toughness Coach
President-elect Donald Trump is stacking his cabinet with retired military leaders, leaving some wondering about, and some worrying about, what message he’s trying to send to the world. ABC News reported that Trump’s cabinet will hold the most Generals since World War II.
It’s important to understand that there are two types of generals in the military. The Bureaucrats and the Warriors. President-elect Trump is stacking his cabinet with the Warriors, and it’s not just the generals in his cabinet, his other picks also display a similar warrior mindset regardless of whether they’ve served in the military.
Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State), CEO of ExxonMobile, recognized and celebrated by Putin himself, has shown to be a warrior general of business, winning global campaigns crossing geopolitical boundaries. Wilbur Ross (Secretary of Commerce) became the “King of Bankruptcy” by operating from a position of strength, expertly rescuing companies who find themselves in weakness. Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), also not a general, is the first Navy SEAL combat veteran elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. For people inside and outside of Washington, working with this unusual cast of characters will require understanding of how different the Warrior mindset is from what we’re used to dealing with in Washington over the past two decades.
As a trainer for the State Department, transitioning former military operators into high-threat, diplomatic security operators, the very first principle taught is that the military-mind and diplomatic-mind are diametrically opposed. The military-mind approaches accomplishing any objective by forceful means. Always direct. Always blunt. Imposing. They use the stick. The diplomatic-mind however approaches accomplishing objectives by persuasive means. Always tactful. Always refined. Inclusive. They use the carrot. The successful business leader who wants to have sway in Washington will learn how to bridge the gap between these two mindsets, posture to occupy a position of strength, but still respect and receive respect from those who don’t.