BLG Leadership Insights Leadership On the Edge

7 (complete lack of) Leadership Quotes from Donald Trump

I am sure by the time I post this blog, Donald Trump will have fallen a few more percentage points in his vainglorious attempt at capturing/buying the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. But before he’s back to just being the world’s greatest everything-but-President of the United States, I thought I would list a few quotes that show Mr. Trump’s seeming lack of real leadership skills. Just because you’re a great businessman doesn’t make you a great leader. Last time I checked, Abe Lincoln’s chain of resort golf courses were still only in the planning stages, so the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. 

I am sure Mr. Trump would disagree with my assessment (please, let him send me an angry email), but just to be clear I am only having a little innocent fun with an über-powerful man who most likely owns our building and thus holds my livelihood in his strong, masculine, God-like hands. OK enough with the keywords, let’s get to the list!

1. “Everything in life is luck.”

2. “A little more moderation would be good. Of course, my life hasn’t exactly been one of moderation.”

3. “Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser.”

4. “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

5. “I’m a bit of a P. T. Barnum. I make stars out of everyone.”

6. “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”

…and last, but certainly not least:

7. “When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in; they say it’s going to cost $75 million. I say it’s going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job.”

BLG Leadership Insights

Win in China: China’s Reality of Business Leadership

Question: What country is home to the largest reality TV show that’s focused on entrepreneurship and capitalism?

Answer: China.


Reality TV competitions originated and have been perfected in America. Now, oddly, the genre’s largest expression can be found in China and it’s aptly called Win in China.

Win in China pits China’s best and brightest entrepreneurs against each other for a 10 Million RMB in business-start-up money. Contestants are judged, in part, by a panel of China’s top business leaders, including Jake Ma (founder of Alibaba: See him here, please) and by public popularity/votes.

In its inaugural season, according to The Atlantic’s China Correspondant James Fallows, Song Wenming won top prize for his service that promises to help perpetually under-employed people find work in his native Anhui province. Mr. Wenming barely defeated a proud pregnant woman and a passionate man, nick-named “Wolf”, who never finished high school.

Win in China’s premise is not new–it’s been done in the UK (Dragon’s Den) and in the US (The Apprentice, Shark Tank). Win in China’s novelty rests in the values it enforces, supports, and champions. In other words, the show surprises Chinese and Western audiences by celebrating the virtues of capitalism–smack in the middle of a communist-turned-socialist capital city.

Further, the show gives us a chance to look at the leadership skills demonstrated by some of China’s budding talents. Quick wits, calm demeanor, limitless creativity, and pools of industry knowledge are the traits China’s populace and business leaders vote for. The show’s popularity will teach a new generation about what it takes to be a strong business person and successful leader.

China’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit have been questioned in the past. However, as Win in China is revealing, China’s ability to innovate and create won’t be easily written off in the coming years.

The show highlights some of the dramatic shifts within Chinese culture and it’s prompted Robert A. Compton to direct a recent documentary called “Win in China”, which takes the show’s reality-TV frame to tell a larger, maybe more important, story. The film promises to explore the tensions within Chinese culture and the dramatic changes are created from them. Enjoy the trailer and check it out: