I would like to see an entrepreneur become President one day. I believe entrepreneurial thinking is incredibly valuable in leaders, and there are many entrepreneurs who I would be delighted to see in power – just not this one.
I was travelling in the US last week and am heading back to the States next week. The first question anybody asked me, whether in San Francisco or Las Vegas, was about the election. Like most people, I have been following intently. This is a US election but far more than that: the vote will have major implications on the rest of the world. With that in mind, I wanted to share my view on why a Donald Trump presidency would be a disaster.
The US is faced with a monumental decision: whether to vote for Hillary Clinton - a safe pair of hands and a leader of supreme experience and know-how. Or to vote for Donald Trump. Quite a few of my American friends, especially some very successful entrepreneurs, are registered Republicans. They have told me they are unable to vote for Donald Trump due to his extreme views, and his shocking ignorance of policy.
As I told Mr Trump when we met many years ago (more on that soon), we fundamentally disagree on what makes a great entrepreneur. I believe this involves being a good listener, putting others before oneself, being an effective delegator and striving to make a positive difference to the world. Great entrepreneurs build businesses with purpose at their heart and always treat people with respect. These are not characteristics I see in Mr Trump - neither in his previous business dealings, nor in this campaign.
This is most stark when compared to President Obama, a leader who fundamentally understands the enormous responsibility of the office he holds, with implications far beyond US borders: after all, the US President is still the most powerful person in the world. From his views on foreign affairs to economics, from healthcare to immigration, President Obama understands that listening, careful balancing of interests and openness to other opinions are essential. As he says here, everybody should rise above “anti-immigration, anti-innovation protectionism”. Whether you agree with all of his policies or not, he treats people with respect, humility and common sense. I feel confident Hillary Clinton would continue on the same path.
On the other hand, Mr Trump's temperament is irrational, aggressive and he lacks informed ideas on how to grow jobs in America. An entrepreneur president would put that at the heart of his plans and yet his fear-based campaign blames immigrants and open borders. America was built upon a collective embracing of diversity and openness – not division and close-mindedness. There are too many examples of Mr Trump’s lack of empathy and respect to name. I agree with many on both sides of America’s political aisle that he is unfit for office.
Two of the most useful traits entrepreneurs can possess are the knowledge when to take risks and how to make decisions. You manage the downside, you seek the facts to inform your view, and you don’t ever allow fear to influence your opinion. There is more information than ever out there - remain curious, educate yourself on candidates and the issues. Don’t be misled by uninformed, inflammatory remarks. With this in mind, make sure you vote for your future.