Can Trump Change?

Photo Credit:  Copyright 2015,Donald Trump Caricature by DonkeyHotey,

Do we change over time?  Can we change?  Do we even want to?  Does Donald Trump have any intention of changing?

The first few sentences in Keirsey’s flagship book, Please Understand Me II, states:  “People are different from each other …no amount of getting after them is going to change them. Nor is there any reason to change them, because the differences are probably good. We differ from each other in fundamental ways.”

If you’ve been following the Trump campaign, it’s been interesting to watch everyone around him making efforts to change him.  He is advised, to be, “more presidential.”  Or to “stick to the teleprompter.”  He is admonished for the insults he makes, or careless off-the-cuff remarks.  He’s gone up and down the polls because of his unpredictable nature.  And recently, his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort resigned.  And political commentators have been speculating whether it was out of frustration due to the inability to control Trump.  No one seems to be able to control Donald Trump.


The truth is…  Trying to control the Donald, or any Artisan Promoter ESTP is not a good idea.  It’s a strategy that doesn’t make sense.  What you have to realize is that the only thing that is predictable about someone like Donald Trump is that they are unpredictable.  The way we state it to our clients in a workshop is, “The only thing that is predictable about an Artisan Promoter is that they will be unpredictable.  So when they do something surprising, don’t be surprised.”

In a recent interview with the Wisconsin television station WKBT, Trump said, “I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, well you’re going to pivot.’ I don’t want to pivot,” He said further, “I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people.”  He said, “I’ve gotten here in a landslide and we’ll see what happens.”  He believes that you have to let “Trump be Trump.”  This is “either going to work,” or he’s “going to have a very, very nice long vacation.”

The question is, why is Trump the way he is?  Why do people like Donald Trump, Muhammad Ali, Hugh Hefner, Madonna, Anna Wintour, or Eva Peron not give a sh** about what anyone thinks?

What drives the Artisan Promoter?  Why do they do what they do?  What motivates them?

In our last post, we revealed what makes Artisans feel best about themselves.  We said that it is when they,  “display artistic action, audacity, and adaptability.”  Trump makes over-the-top statements, pushing the extremes, provoking visceral reactions, engaging anger and fear… even outrage, and terror…

He could say, in a diplomatic way, “We want to protect Americans from senseless crimes which have arisen because our borders are not secure.”  He could say, “We would like to understand why terrorism has inflicted our country, and we want to make sure that it doesn’t continue to be a problem.”  But, this is lacking any audacity.  It doesn’t incite the kind of reaction that an Artisan looks for.  It’s boring.  It doesn’t make headlines. It’s impotent and flacid.  Artisans need a big reaction.  Something grand, something awesome, something unfathomable.  It needs to be sexy.  That is why he states, “We’re going to build a wall…  it’s going to be a big wall!”  And we all know who’s going to pay for it (according to Trump).  This is also why he calls for a “ban on all Muslims.”  People react when they hear statements like this.  The media is all over it.


He says extreme statements with colorful words because it’s flamboyant.  He is outrageous because this is what dragon slayers do.  He deviates from the teleprompter because it allows him to be raw, and adapt to the audience.  Using a script makes an Artisan feel caged.  It stifles and hinders them.  Trump wants to be free to say whatever the f***in’ hell he wants.  Instead of being empathetic and emotive to African American voters in Ohio, saying something like, “I know your pain, I will do my best for you. Let me serve you. Give me a chance.”  He has to say, “What the hell do you have to lose?  Give me a chance. I’ll straighten it out.”


Artisans feel best when they can defy the odds, and pull off the impossible.  Artisans need a fire-breathing challenge to slay. They feel pride when they can adapt, improvise, and make things happen with very little to go off of.  So, that is why he needs to say that after his first term as president that he will have 95% of the African American vote even though he currently is polled to have 1% of their vote to Hillary’s 91%.

Artisans need the, “OMG!  Did he just say that?”  And then they might dial it back.  Their approach is to attract attention, provoke a response where others would say, “What an a**h***!”  Artisans are deliberately this way at times.  And after they’ve gotten everyone’s attention, they figure out a revised statement, and a policy to back up what was said.  A long time member of our team at Keirsey who is an Artisan Promoter coined the term, “The A**h*** factor,” stating, “Sometimes we’re like that because we just want to see how others will respond.”

Artisans often feel that it is their wild nature that is attractive.  On a side note…  This is similar to why gals often go for the a**h*** bad-boy.  Or why guys find the wild-girl sexy. Trump’s nature is to be the bad-boy.


In a recent client engagement, we had some fun with concepts from our model, characterizing “different kinds of boys.”  This is not something we would ever publish in our books or reports, or ever use this in our presentations, but, we thought that we’d humor you in this blog which is meant to be a bit more informal.  We have often joked about the “bad-boy” Artisan as the wild play-boy, (which when taken to the extreme, can become the crazy-boy.)  Trump is certainly not the “good-boy” Guardian… the honorable, traditional-boy, (which when taken to the extreme, can become the boring-boy.)  Nor is Trump the “lover-boy” Idealist… the romantic, sensitive-boy, (which when taken to the extreme, can become the wimpy-boy.)  Nor is he the “brain-boy” Rational…  the intellectual, genius-boy, (which when taken to the extreme, can become the nerdy-boy.)

Remember…  For the Artisan, it has to have flair, it needs to be spectacular, it must have a “wow” factor, it has to be be bold, daring, courageous.  There needs to be teeth, guts, or cojones.  Artisans want to shake things up, to go against the establishment.  They want to stand out.  They make statements which are sensational, big, bold, and over-the-top.



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  1. Trump hasn’t changed a bit since he first came on the scene back in the 1970s when he boldly announced that he and Ivana were the new Camelot couple replacing John & Jackie Kennedy. His views haven’t change. I really can’t sense that there has been any growth within his soul over the years. If anything, he’s worse than he was back in the ’70s. A very shallow man.


  2. Disagree with the former comment. I believe the soul growth is between God and Mr Trump- but regarding good business – his track record provides evidence that he can help this unbalanced state of our nation. I welcome a chance for a different approach to management in our government.


    1. Good business?? Track Record ? Really? He’s done plenty of not so good business….
      The reason he can get away with it, is indeed his ability to overwhelm people with his bold Artisan bad boy nature as described in this article. NOT his actual ability to run a business, let alone a nation.

      I saw a funny quote on facebook a while ago:
      “Americans, this is not actually an election, it’s an IQ test. It’s not looking good.”

      Alas, it IS an actual election and the entire world is baffled with how any one could be fooled to believe Trump’s narcissistic claims. Most of what he claims about himself can be countered quite easily. Yet, a massive amount of Americans seem to have a blind spot in their brains….

      The sad thing is, the entire world will bare the consequences of whatever “over-the-top” decisions Trump makes just to feed his own ego. The rest of the world has no voice, all we can do is watch how apparently large numbers of Americans just buy in to Trump’s egocentric visions, and – if he gets elected – see international politics escalate.
      The rest of the world will not be fooled so easily.
      The rest of the world will not tolerate his bad boy behavior so easily.
      What do you think the effect is on leaders of other nations when they are confronted with a man who consistently ignores their concerns (and probably will use any trick in the manipulation book to gaslight them), because he wants to prove how important he is?

      Please Americans, THINK carefully before voting, and try to think further than your own borders.


  3. His unpredictability could be a good especially in international affairs. Keep them guessing what you’re going to do next, don’t telegraph your moves. This is why Patton outsmarted the Germans in WW2 unlike the predictable Omar Bradley who was a guardian.


  4. It’s not difficult to see which way Keirsey leans in this election. Hillary would need to become a completely different person before I would vote for her lying cheating self. She is poison. Pathological liar and yet I’m amazed how many people are ignoring the red flags about who she is.


    1. Keirsey does not lean toward any candidate in this election. We are not endorsing anyone. We do not condone or condemn the behaviors of either Hillary or Trump. We’re just making observations, and providing our analysis of them through our temperament and personality model. It seems that there are very strong opinions about both candidates by those following the Keirsey Blog, and we welcome everyone’s thoughts in this discussion. Thank you for engaging with us.


      1. After reading the blog, it occurred to me to wonder if an ESTP has ever been a US president. Can you enlighten us?

      2. Based on our research and analysis, the following Presidents were Artisan Promoters ESTP: Martin Van Buren, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and George W. Bush.

      3. Thanks. Surprisingly more than I would have thought.

  5. Perhaps keeping other countries guessing can be good. However, those who elect him – or not – need to be able have some idea of what he is getting us and our sons & daughters into. Will he invade Canada if her leaders insult him? Well, that’s flamboyant and unpredictable, and certainly would keep his name in the history books!


    1. Well said J Jones…


  6. Good synopsis of Trump. His motives are clear — himself. If the country can benefit from enlarging his ego, then it will benefit. He brings real world experience and a new way of thinking that shakes up the status quo – for better or worse. Electing Trump is a gamble that could pay off handsomely or could be an absolute bust. It’s like betting the farm on a long shot horse.

    Clinton, according to Keirsey is an INTJ – mastermind. She guards her real views and motivations behind the shield of the introvert. The wheels are turning (the “T”), but for whom do they benefit? I believe she is in it for herself too – much like Trump. She see the history books heaping accolades on the first female president who saved the world. The rules are for others and the ends justify the means – evidenced by all her scandals. She is smart enough to weasel her way out each time though. Like Trump, if the country can benefit from enlarging her ego, then we will benefit.

    The INTJ mindset is great for a president, if the ego can be controlled. The ESTP can be the gamble we need to change the malaise of this so called economic recovery, or it will be a disaster. Neither is an ideal candidate, but thanks to Keirsey for providing a decidedly non-political viewpoint.


    1. Isn’t it fascinating how we tend to dig our heels into our own political perspectives? Anyone who has developed a healthy self-awareness can feel how they are being ‘pulled” by their own story. IMHO, both candidates are high risk. One a complete unknown, the other “the devil we know.”

      But I digress. Writing to say how greatly I appreciate the objective assessment Keirsey has provided. Maintaining objectivity is challenging without the tools!


  7. Hi, why to change? Trump is running fine!

    Gosse, Netherlands


    1. We agree! We don’t think that Trump should change. (And nor should Hillary). Hence, we started this blog post with the quote, “People are different from each other …no amount of getting after them is going to change them. Nor is there any reason to change them, because the differences are probably good.” We think that Trump needs to be Trump, and Hillary needs to be Hillary. When either of them tries to be someone they are not, it compromises their capability to be effective. We believe that leaders are at their best when their leadership flows out of who they are.


  8. Your explanation clears up what people who don’t understand temperament need to realize. Trump is absolutely an Artisan Promoter, and in this world, they are charming, magnetic, and in my opinion, Trump WILL do his damnedest to get things done. It’s his MISSION. He’s how he has OPERATED all his life! He’s a risk-taker to the ultimate degree, but he’s thoughtful and practical too. It’s why he’s so successful. Granted, he’s had his unsuccessful times, but that’s what happens sometimes when you take risks. To my observation, he is determined to succeed, not just for the country, but to prove to the naysayers, that HE WILL GET IT DONE!!! He is the person you hire when your corporation needs a shake-up and solution to fix a mess.
    As an INFP, I couldn’t be further from him temperamentally, however, I appreciate his spontaneity, and “just do it” attitude. He’s also smart! Look at what he’s taught his kids. They’re smart too. I believe that Clinton is very smart too, but she is not going to make changes that are major “shake-ups” (I can’t think of a better word than that). She is following her socialist agenda in a methodical, strategic way, and neither will she change that because she is who she is, too, just like Trump. Our country needs a shake-up right now. We need some fast changes. The past eight years (and even prior) have been such a downturn. My hope is that Trump will win, and also win some major victories for the COUNTRY and the citizens here. 🙂


    1. Hillary is a dedicated public servant and she’s definitely more of a policy wonk. She is very strategic, Her strategies have strategies! I’d trust her a lot more than Trump precisely because she’s methodical and thoughtful. She has the experience and has been voted the most admired woman in the world for 20 years in a row according to Gallup. And she’s trusted and respected by the most accomplished people in the world. There’s really no comparing the two. It’s transparent who would make a good leader and who’s completely and utterly unfit for the job.


  9. Christa Baumgartner August 26, 2016 at 5:12 am

    I am not sure that he is unpredictable. it is not the idea or the behaviour wich is unpredictable, all you have to do is to exagerate the predictable thoughts he has, it is just making giving each idea a huge dimension ….


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