Whether you love or hate Donald Trump, there is an important lesson we can all learn from him. Simply – you must adapt to your new set of circumstances, and what worked for you previously might not be relevant to your new circumstances.
I have read dozens of articles talking about how Donald Trump is applying his previous management techniques and methodologies to how he is structuring the White House. If the stories are true, he is following his instinct of working in the way that he is comfortable.
Whenever we face a new challenge, it’s natural to reflect on prior experiences to try and solve what is on our plate today. And while this is useful, it’s also critical to think through how the new circumstances are different to what we previously encountered.
President Trump is now running the biggest and most complex government in the world. His prior experiences may have no relevance to what he is working on today.
The same analogy is relevant to different experiences in business. If you move from working in a big company to a start-up or vice versa, you need to adapt to the different structure you’re dealing with today. If you don’t realize your new surroundings or learn to adapt to them quickly, you won’t survive.
This lesson is also critical when you ask for mentoring or advice. Does your mentor or coach understand the current lens you are dealing with, or are they advising you through their prior experiences. If they cannot understand the new situation, the bias of their advice might not be useful.
And likewise, if you are the one giving the advice, take the time to really make sure you understand the current circumstances, and aren’t only making suggestions based on your previous experiences.
Good decisions are a balancing act between understanding what we’re facing today, and what we learned yesterday. Embrace both elements, and you will make the best possible decisions.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.