What we have here, is a FAILURE to communicate

These are the immortal words of Strother Martin who played the tyrannical southern warden in “Cool Hand Luke.” The word “Failure” is capitalized as it must be drawn out.

Failure to communicate is its own virus that compromises many a person. It is especially true for those trying to forewarn the self-professed smartest guy in the room.

The previous president, the transition manager and multiple people on the staff of the newly elected president told him “DO NOT HIRE MICHAEL FLYNN.” Yet, among his many shortcomings, the president does not listen very well. He also does not have the patience to vet candidates.

But, the president hired Flynn anyway, Flynn committed a crime working with the Russians before he had authority to do so and then he lied to the FBI, which is also a crime, to which he later confessed.

Early on, people who would vote for him said Trump would hire the best of people to make up for his inexperience. Well, he did hire a couple of well regarded people, but they are long gone, tiring of their boss’ shenanigans and inability to communicate concerns to belay inappropriate actions.

But for the most part, Trump’s inability to listen and lack of patience created many obstacles and more than a few questionable hires and candidates. Trying to appoint his personal doctor as head of the Veterans Administration, nominating more than a few candidates who later pulled because the Senate would vote them down, picking a governor with no science degree to manage the Department of Energy, and so on are just a few examples.

If he listened or would take the time to ask beforehand, he could have saved himself a lot of embarassment. It is hard to communicate with someone who won’t listen or take the time to hear you. Yet, one thing is for certain, Trump does not accept responsibility for his inability to listen and bad hiring decisions. But, that is precisely who has the responsibility for hiring Michael Flynn when told not to – his name is Donald J. Trump.

A lesson that continues to evade someone

A certain man in a global leadership position continues to avoid learning an important lesson. Not only does it hurt his efforts, but it is harmful to this country’s relationships around the globe and within its leadership ranks. The lesson is his failure to vet decisions and communications of such with key people before a broader announcement.

Yesterday, this man decided to walk away from a summit with North Korea without giving advance notice to a key ally in South Korea. As a result, the US relationship with South Korea is strained. Now, he may be whipsawing them again as he has done all week saying the summit may still be on.

But, this is not the first time he has done this. After pleas from our European allies, he walked away from the Iran nuclear deal. ┬áThe echoes of that change continue to strain relationships with our allies to the point an EU leader said “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

His first major change was so horribly vetted and communicated, it was pulled after two days. He failed to discuss with Congressional leaders in his own party that he was instituting a travel ban. He also failed to gain input and buy-in from affected agencies who had to implement the change. It was as he likes to say a “disaster,” but this one was on his shoulders. Soldiers often refer to poor decisions like this with a word beginning with “cluster.”

But, there are many more examples. What may turn out to be his Waterloo is he fired James Comey without telling him. Comey found out from a TV news report. Further, he failed to give advance warning to his communication team, leaving them to make plans in the White House bushes while the reporters waited. That may be the best metaphor for his Presidency.

Yet, for a man who used to have a faux-reality show where he fired people, he has a hard time doing this face to face. He fired Rex Tillerson without telling him. He had Andrew McCabe fired as he cleaned out his desk to retire, an especially vindictive move. Not telling people they are fired beforehand is extremely poor management. And, for someone who likes to talk tough, it reveals those words are part of a false bravado.

His followers like to say what a great businessman he is, but while he is accused of being a great merchandiser, he is rarely accused of being a good manager. Managing a multi-organization business or government is complicated. It requires diligence, input, time, communication, planning and a dose of compassion. For someone who makes decisions on the fly and bullies people, he is at odds with the tools for successful implementations or relationships.

But, as the man once said. “I, alone, can solve this.” With all due respect, no you cannot, but you sure can screw it up.