Do You See What I See-Perception Management

How people think, feel and act are not always based upon truth, but instead upon what they perceive (observe, identify, or distinguish) as being their reality. This past election triggered emotional uproars from the American people. President elect Trump took a straight-with-no-chaser approach to politics as he does business. He was totally candid and raw; sometimes even vulgar. This is the person we have always known him to be and he did not change faces for the election. But once he actually won, it appeared that he toned down. He shouted from the mountain top that he was going to build a wall and send the bill to the other side. We watched emotions stir. Or he was pulling the plug on Obamacare. Think of the millions who would be without coverage again. Emotions stirred over and over again as the laundry list ran down the floor. But now he’s president elect and the wall is for illegal immigrants, illegal being the operative word here. Some components of Obamacare might be kept. Things have just toned down. So what is the perception now and what do you see?

The United States Department of Defense defines perception management as:

Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.

In his article, The Victory of ‘Perception Management’, Robert Parry states, “…what the insiders called “perception management” began in earnest with the Reagan administration in the 1980s but it would come to be the accepted practice of all subsequent administrations, including the present one of President Barack Obama.” Where propaganda trumps ideals, “The point would be not to honestly inform the American people about events around the world but to manage their perceptions by ramping up fear in some cases and defusing outrage in others depending on the U.S. government’s needs.” (Parry) Wow! Do we get caught up in the hype? Yes indeed!

Now let’s draw a line from government to corporations and from corporations to businesses. Billionaire, Donald Trump, is a case study for entrepreneurship. He has used perception management to now be the most influential man in America. How can you position yourself as an entrepreneur to be the most influential person in your business arena? In his book, It’s a Jungle in There, Steven Schussler believes, “Sometimes it is important to use perception management to create the appropriate image or belief you want a person or group of people to have about you and/or your creations.” (2010, pg. 173)

What do you want you’re the marketplace to perceive you to be? Schussler says, “Perception management is about getting people to see you and what you do in a positive light…negative impressions [create] unwanted consequences.” For Trump, did it really matter? There were protests but that too has passed. But for the maturing entrepreneur, Schussler is correct. It’s all about mind-sets. As the artist, you get to paint the picture you want them to see; you get to create the sculpture right before their eyes; and you get to write the script of your success story. You get them to see what you want them to see.


Parry, R. (n.d.). The Victory of ‘Perception Management’. Retrieved December 07, 2016, from

Perception management. (n.d.). Retrieved December 07, 2016, from

Schussler, Steven. (2010) It’s A Jungle In There. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.



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