Yale's Jeff Sonnenfeld: The business community will have to adjust to Donald Trump

Sonnenfeld: Trump is not a theorist, he's a pragmatist

People in the business world are going to have to change their way of dealing with Washington and President-elect Donald Trump in particular, Jeff Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at the Yale School of Management, said.

Sonnenfeld, who is also CNBC contributor, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Halftime Report" that Trump's unique way of governing will force lobbyists and executives to adjust to the uncertainty, especially because very few of them were in his corner early in the race.

"The business community — the Fortune 500 business community, many of our friends — they don't understand this man, he's a blank slate," Sonnenfeld said. "Most of them didn't support him, most of them think he was a major threat to the economy ... and most of them thought that he's a great threat to our trading partners and to our diplomatic allies."

Although Trump is a "very successful big business leader," Sonnenfeld said, he's not part of the Fortune 500 club of leaders.

"Their traditional tools of dealing with government leaders of either party are not going to work with this guy," he said. "They can't threaten back, this is somebody who loves a great threat — he loves a food fight, loves a mud fight."