At the peak of his WWE fame, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson often started sentences by saying, "The Rock says..." As in, "The Rock says know your role and shut your mouth."(Plus, "The Rock says" served as a quasi-chorus for his entrance music.)
As with any leader -- especially one whose leadership model is based on effective communication -- when The Rock spoke, people listened.
Including when Johnson said in 2016 that he might someday run for President:
I'll be honest, I haven't ruled politics out. I'm not being coy when I say that, but at the moment I am not sure. I can't deny that the thought of being Governor, the thought of being President, is alluring.
And beyond that, it would be an opportunity to make a real impact on people's lives on a global scale. But there are a lot of other things I want to do first.
Since then Johnson has continued to express, when asked, a mild interest in running for office. Possibly. Maybe. Someday.
He doesn't bring it up. But he doesn't reject the idea.
Which is, at this point, the perfect strategy.
Years ago, many assumed that in order to win an election, you first had to lose an election. First, people had to see you as a possibility: By running and losing, you planted the seed in people's minds so that next time you would be perceived were genuine candidate.
(The same thing often happens with job promotions: Being perceived as a potential candidate is half the battle. That's why some people eventually get promoted over better, less senior people. Eventually it's Bob's "turn." Whether Bob deserves it or not.)
Of course, that's no longer the case. Losing an election often makes it even harder to win the next one. If you couldn't win then... why should we vote for you now?
Nor do candidates have to work their way up through the ranks of the political system.
They can simply say they're going to run.
Or, better yet, have people ask them to run.
In marketing terms, saying you want to run is push: Distributing advertising you want people to see and hopefully respond to.
Being asked to run is pull: Creating content people want to see -- and will actually seek out on their own.
Like this, from Wednesday night:
Johnson attended protests over the construction of a giant telescope on Mauna Kea mountain, a dormant volcano considered sacred by many Hawaiians.
Why? As The Rock says:
This mountain is their church, and it would be like building on their church. This is humanity.
These are human beings whose hearts are hurting. When you have humans beings who are hurting, (in) any culture around the world, that's our indication that we've gotta stop. Let's be considerate, let's be empathetic, and let's always take care of the people.
At the end of the day, it always comes down to that: Taking care of the people.
To many people, statements like that make Johnson "presidential." Isn't taking care of people what a President should do?
And while Johnson's empathy, likability, and charisma hardly mean he can actually do the job (being electable is one thing, doing the job well another), don't count him out.
The Rock is also extremely coachable. And knows how to surround himself with outstanding people.
Just ask Dany Garcia, Johnson's business partner in Seven Bucks Productions, and longtime manager. (Also ex-wife: Yep, the marriage ended but the professional relationship thrives, which in itself says a lot about The Rock.)
Clearly she's in a position to know. As Dany told me:
One of Dwayne's keys to success is he can detach his ego completely and care solely about who has the best answers. He's extremely coachable: he's really coachable in wrestling, as an actor he's really coachable... he's totally detached to the ego side of decision-making.
When you're talented and coachable and willing to find the best answer, no matter who has it or where it comes from... that's extremely powerful.
Finding the best answer, regardless of where it comes from.
Isn't that what every great leader does?