Guess what, if you missed the news last night, Donald Trump’s “fabulous,” “incredible” wall is going to have to be paid for by the United States’ taxpayers.
I know, shocking, a politician lied about something.
The next thing you are going to tell me is that water is wet.
But this latest revelation from the mouth of the President Elect is actually a teaching moment for everyone, not a political teaching moment mind you, but a moment to remind you about the power of stories and the power of stories to influence our actions and to motivate us to take action.
You see, Donald Trump told the American people a story. Not one that really reflected the reality of anyone that had ever done business with him, but a reality that he had crafted during his years as the host of the different variations of reality TV he was on.
This story was that he was an uber successful business man. Someone that “built” things and that “got things done.”
True or not, the story was emotional in nature and drove scores of voters to put their faith in him to solve some of the many issues that face America at this moment in time.
This brings me back to last night’s news that Trump plans to ask Congress to pay for the wall.
A big part of the Donald Trump for America story was built on the validity of his ability to build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it.
A pretty bold story, at the least.
And, much of his platform was built on his strength as a negotiator, builder, and businessman.
That’s what makes this whole wall thing interesting as a case study in corporate storytelling because what was strong and compelling one minute can become bogus and a slippery slope the next.
Its good to remember the basics of storytelling here:
Everyone has a way that they see the world. For many voters, Donald Trump was the answer to years of neglect and a tonic to the inability of Washington politicians to do the people’s work.
For many voters, Donald Trump was a clown, and someone unfit to be president.
And, for many people, Donald Trump was something else entirely.
No matter what camp you may find or have found yourself in, having the basic tenants of your argument undermined doesn’t help the stability of that frame, unless it was already negative to begin with.
Public Perception Is Fickle:
The best stories are ones that you can tell over and over again.
The worst are the kinds that have a shelf life because there is no there, there.
So when you are telling a story in public, it is cool that you think you can tell it over and over because that is just good storytelling…consistency.
The challenge for your story comes in the idea that if you keep trying to tell a story with consistency and it has no substance behind it.
Eventually, if you don’t produce some sort of results, your story starts to ring false.
Which leads to the last one…
Being Authentic Matters:
A story like this really hits Donald Trump in a spot where he can’t afford to be hit, despite any pushback, Tweets, or other noise he offers up to defend himself.
Because a story like this really hits at the one thing that propped him up during the campaign, that he was more authentic than Hillary Clinton.
Again, his authenticity was build on the back of negotiation, building, business.
Arguably this was his biggest campaign promise…and to have it fail miserably and openly before he takes office is a warning shot across the bow of his entire platform and agenda.
Because as “leadership” in Congress has proven, they are on his side right now because he won, but as soon as his usefulness is finished, they will drop him like a lead balloon.
And, one story you can take to the bank is that with any member of Congress, if its their job over doing the right thing or the tough thing, that thing doesn’t have a chance.