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Preparing for Trump’s Presidency

If you don’t use scenario planning for your business and for yourself, the time has come. That’s because we’re pretty certain that a Trump presidency will bring much significant change yet remarkably uncertain of what it will be. For example, the Trump campaign’s explicit position on healthcare was that “on day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.” But last Thursday Trump had coffee with President Obama and emerged saying he was open to keeping two of Obamacare’s key provisions, coverage of adult children through age 26 and guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Trump’s shifting positions on many issues leave planners groping for answers. For example, will he really champion his tax plan, which the Tax Policy Institute and the nonpartisan Tax Foundation say would reduce federal revenue, while also keeping his promise to eliminate the entire federal debt in eight years? Who knows?

Scenario planning doesn’t try to predict the future; it tries to imagine various futures and think through the consequences. Shell made the practice famous back in the 1970s when it came through the energy crisis better than other giant oil companies; planners hadn’t predicted the Arab oil embargo, but they had written a detailed scenario of how it might occur and might happen next.

You’ll benefit from writing your own post-election scenarios. Which ones will depend on your business, but here are three to use as thought starters:

-Trump pulls U.S. troops from Europe. European defense strategists are already preparing for this scenario, says Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. NATO leaders are deeply concerned after candidate Trump called NATO “obsolete” and said he might not defend NATO members as required under the treaty unless they “pay their bills.” As commander in chief, he has authority to withdraw U.S. troops with a phone call. If European governments increase their defense budgets significantly, as some are already doing, what happens to their deficits, interest rates, their economies? Which companies benefit, which suffer? If the U.S. retreats from protection of Europe, what happens to America’s negotiating position with the E.U. on trade, antitrust, and other issues?

-Trump unilaterally imposes tariffs on China and Mexico. He has promised to do so, and he has the legal authority. Do those countries respond with new tariffs? Do U.S. companies with operations there move them elsewhere? Do higher prices in the U.S. create openings for U.S. firms? Make consumers furious? Slow U.S. economic growth?

-Congress enacts significant changes to Obamacare. Full repeal won’t happen; that would require 60 votes in the Senate, which the Republicans don’t have. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan say they’re ready to take action soon. Which changes in America’s largest industry have a chance of passing while also letting Republicans declare victory? How would those changes affect employers? Insurers? The many U.S. towns and cities in which medical centers are the largest employers?

Scenario planning is a lot of work, but in our increasingly uncertain world, it’s more than worth the effort.

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What We’re Reading Today

Trump and immigration
On 60 Minutes, President-elect Donald Trump said that once in office, he would immediately order the deportation of 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants, focusing on criminals first. While he needs congressional approval for increased border agents, he can unilaterally change the priorities of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. USA Today

Obama heads for final foreign policy trip
He heads to Europe and then Peru for his first meetings with foreign leaders since congressional leaders said they would not vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trip includes the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum; the TPP’s demise could lead to soured relations with the many countries that helped broker the deal. CNN

American Apparel files for bankruptcy… again
It’s the second time in just over a year that the clothing maker and retailer has sought bankruptcy protection. Chairman Bradley Scher says the company will operate as normal while trying to sell many of its assets. It has sold some intellectual property rights to Gildan Activewear for $66 million. Reuters

Redstone heirs take on larger role
As National Amusements – the company through which Sumner Redstone  controls 80% of the voting shares in Viacom and CBS – was battling then-Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman over control of the company, grandson Tyler Korff  began to build the case for a settlement. He reached out to Dauman, as they have long remained friendly, and held initial talks on terms.  WSJ

Building Better Leaders

The language you use in job posts…
…may disproportionately attract men or women. Growth-oriented phrases like “learn new things” and “commitment to improvement” draw more women and fill jobs 11 times faster than language suggesting fixed attributes like “genius” and “overachiever.” Inc.

Practicing perfectionism at work…
…often leads to risk avoidance and lack of confidence. Instead, give yourself permission to make mistakes every so often. Fortune

Instead of creating work-life balance…
…is it time to think about work-life blur? The notion involves ranges for goals, like working out 15-45 minutes everyday vs. a set 30 minutes. The blur reduces guilt over failing since you define success more broadly. SmartBrief

Trump’s Growing Team

Trump picks Priebus as chief of staff
In his first appointment, President-elect Trump chose Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. The decision may reassure many Washington Republicans, signaling that Trump will work with the party establishment despite campaigning against it. NBC News

Controversy around Stephen Bannon appointment
Trump‘s selection of Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor has critics worried about the former Breitbart News executive chairman’s connections to the “alt-right” movement. Under his leadership of Breitbart, the news site has published racially insensitive content, including an embrace of the Confederate flag. Bannon has also been accused of using anti-semitic language, which he denies. Washington Post

Peter Thiel joins the transition team
One of the few Silicon Valley voices supporting Trump, billionaire investor Thiel will sit on the executive committee along with Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr. His connection with the administration could be a boon for companies he owns or holds stakes in, including Lyft and Palantir. Fortune

Up or Out

Waste Management has named James Fish, Jr. CEO.  Houston Business Journal

Fortune Reads and Videos

Microsoft closes its two largest wind deals ever
The contracts will buy up to 237 megawatts of energy to run Microsoft’s U.S. data centers. Fortune

China’s richest man is about to own…
…the world’s largest movie theater chain. Wang Jianlin‘s Dalian Wanda Group owns AMC, which has agreed to buy Carmike Cinemas for $1.2 billion. Carmike shareholders will likely approve the deal tomorrow. Fortune

Samsung buys Harman International Industries for $8 billion…
…in an effort to break into the automotive electronics market. Fortune

Rudy Giuliani: Hillary Clinton prosecution could still come
“I guess the next attorney general is going to have to figure that out,” said Giuliani, who’s vice-chairman of Trump‘s transition team. Fortune

Happy Birthday

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice turns 62 today.  Biography

Prince Charles turns 68.  Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau