In advance of the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, colleague Marty Latz published this column in Politico this week: Why Trump’s Aggressive Tactics Make Him a Less Effective Negotiator. Marty argues, after studying his entire career, that while Trump touts his negotiation skills and thinks that this meeting with Putin will be his easiest, he is woefully underprepared.
For example, businessman Trump’s lack of patience and attention to detail, and his failure to do his homework led him to overpay by tens of millions for the Trump Shuttle and New York City’s Plaza Hotel in the mid-1980s. And his tit-for-tat public name-calling spat with New York City Mayor Ed Koch likely cost him a real estate deal worth billions with the world’s tallest building that he called “Television City.”
And as Latz assesses Trump’s overreliance on assertiveness versus any other skill (where Marty quotes me!), he notes:
Trump has average skills here. According to many, he can be extremely charming when he turns on his “salesman” side. Unfortunately, he has combined these with Twitter rampages and an over-reliance on the value of personal relationships, whether with China’s Xi Jinping or North Korea’s Kim Jong -Un. Few concrete concessions from either tactic have been forthcoming. In fact, each illustrates the limitations of Trump’s overconfidence in his personal negotiation and relationship-building skills. After all, we’re now in a full-blown trade war with China. And North Korea recently derided the U.S. for its “gangster-like” behavior.
Of course, this is predictable. Personal relationships carry greater weight in business—where Trump has operated for many years—versus presidential negotiations—where Trump is a true neophyte.
For more on this, Marty’s book The Real Trump Deal: An Eye-Opening Look at How He Really Negotiates will be out next month. In the meantime, I’m sure that many of us watch this negotiation with both interest and concern.