How a Systems-Thinking President Can Settle the Climate Science Debate

This idea in today’s Wall Street Journal talks about creating a “Red Team” to dig into the climate science debate and come up with a conclusion for the public. I call that a good system.

Systems are better than goals. A goal, in this case, might be to “Convince the public that climate change is a big problem.” That’s a clear goal, but what if it isn’t the best outcome? That’s where a system (such as forming a Red Team) comes in handy. The system will solve for credibility while informing the public of whatever comes out of the exercise.

You can’t govern better than that. Period.

We have, for the first time, a “Systems-thinking” president. You see it in everything President Trump does. His go-to system involves lots of A-B testing of ideas, lots of negotiating, strict attention to the psychology of the situation, and pushing forward in ways that increase the odds of success. For example, the first vote on healthcare looked like a failure to “goals-thinking” people. But President Trump referred to the process yesterday as a system in which the bill keeps “getting better and better” as time goes by. And he’s right. That is exactly what we see happening.

You also see a Trump system in place to deal with North Korea. Instead of creating a goal, such as “Get rid of your nukes by Tuesday,” President Trump has created a system that links China’s future trade deals, and International standing, with their progress in solving for North Korea. That’s a good system.

You can tell that President Trump is a systems-thinker by looking at what I call his Talent Stack. He amassed an impressive set of complementary skills over his lifetime that would make him successful at almost anything he did, from hosting reality TV shows, to running for president. Notice that he is a good public speaker with a strong understanding of persuasion, politics, business strategy, and more. Add all of that to his sense of humor, his energy, his ability to endure brutal criticism, and his natural intelligence, and you have super-powerful person who can succeed in a lot of different ways.

For more on systems being better than goals, see my book on that topic.

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