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Former Presidential Advisor Provides Trump and Hillary Tips for First 100-Days

10/27/2016 01:41 pm ET | Updated Oct 27, 2016
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It’s election time, and we’re fast-forwarding to what the new POTUS needs to achieve in the first 100-days.

Who better to ask than Dorie Clark, former presidential advisor and marketing expert. I talked to her about what the next POTUS will need to accomplish in his or her first 100-days to create a positive chord for their tenure as President.

With a historic US election fast-approaching and one of the most tumultuous US political campaigns in history, the whole world is watching to see who the American electorate will choose to lead the nation for the next four years. Whoever wins, he or she will have to act quickly to move their country forward. The first 100-days, like any new leader in an organization, sets the tone.

The new leader must focus on the right ‘wins’ to establish credibility and trust, build a strong team to follow through with the vision, set benchmark goals, effectively execute. The new leaders end goal is to create the necessary positive momentum to succeed.

The first 100-days establishes the leadership dynamism as well as effectiveness. With a position as visible and powerful as the POTUS, the whole world will be critiquing every action made during those first 100-days. Each action, word spoken, movement made and advisor chosen must be carefully planned and strategized.

Here’s the interview:

Caroline: What is the most crucial goal for the new POTUS, in the first 100 days?

Dorie: Given how contentious this year's election has been, the #1 goal for the President-Elect is reaching out to disaffected voters who supported his or her opponent and reassure them that the President's job is to represent all the people. You have to overcome the mistrust before you can be effective in accomplishing any particular policy goal.

Caroline: What quick wins do you expect the new POTUS to achieve in the first 100 days?

Dorie: The first and most obvious one are getting the stalled Supreme Court nominee moving forward in the approvals process, so we can finally get back up to nine justices.

Caroline: What re-brand does the new POTUS need in the first 100 days?

Dorie: Transitioning from being a candidate to being the President means abandoning 'red meat,' divisive appeals to one's base, and instead focusing on issues of mutual concern to the electorate. A great early win would revolve around a non-controversial (or less controversial) feel-good issue that has been stalled for some reason - this year's equivalent of the Ledbetter equal pay legislation.

Caroline: What baggage does the former presidential candidate need to lose to be successful from Day 1 as POTUS?

Dorie: If Hillary Clinton wins, she needs to overcome the perception that she's untrustworthy and self-dealing. She'll need to set up clear firewalls distancing herself, Bill Clinton, and her staff, from the activities of the Clinton Foundation. She must set the tenor for an Administration that is obsessively transparent to overcompensate.

If Donald Trump wins, he needs to surround himself with sober, trusted hands with DC experience. He needs to reassure voters that he's not a hothead who will start a nuclear war over some perceived slight but instead can comport himself as a statesman, particularly in early dealings with foreign nations.

Caroline: Other than dozens and dozens of advisors, what type of coach do you think can credibly coach and challenge the new POTUS to create inspired solutions that truly will move the USA forward?

Dorie: A good coach would focus on helping Hillary Clinton appear less programmed, and stilted to make her seem more trustworthy.

A good coach would advise Donald Trump to hold his fire more frequently and keep his counsel until the opportune moment, rather than reacting to every little provocation. It remains unclear that he would listen to such a person.

Caroline: What areas of the ‘business’ can trip up the POTUS early on?

Dorie: Despite President Obama's master rhetorical skills, he nonetheless had a very hard time early in his presidency controlling the message in Washington. For Hillary Clinton, who has 30 years' worth of competing advisors stacked up with their personal agendas, or Donald Trump, who keeps his counsel and frequently mouths off, controlling the message in Washington will be especially challenging. You must ensure message discipline from the candidate and the staff, which can shape news coverage and your perception of momentum among the public and fellow lawmakers who are deciding whether or not to cut you a break on early legislative matters.

Caroline: What will the new POTUS do for Brand America?

Dorie: Barack Obama made it his mission to repair America's image abroad after the Bush-era misadventures in foreign policy. One can argue about the lasting impact, but he apparently changed the narrative enough to win a Nobel Prize (though one he declared premature). Given Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric during the campaign, a Hillary Clinton presidency will need to reassure foreign countries that America remains steady and resistant to demagogic impulses. If Donald Trump wins, he'll need to temper his approach or risk escalating tensions abroad.

Caroline: Thanks, Dorie. Awesome as always!

When leaders begin new positions, they tend to achieve more when they have a trusted advisor (coach) who can help establish, set and meet goals, navigate potential pitfalls, and keep them on track. It’s what FORWARD does with every new hire we place and any company or individual that wants the best possible start in their new role. We encourage everyone to hit the ground running, make their marks and set him or herself up for long-term achievement.

We will soon know who the next POTUS will be and we will all be carefully watching to see what they set out to achieve in their first 100-days to move America and the whole world FORWARD.

Caroline Stokes is an executive headhunter and executive coach, plus founder of FORWARD incorporating first 100 days coaching for every new innovation leader hire.

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