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Industry Spotlight; Executive Management Meets The Godfather

19 March 2018

The Godfather offers valuable lessons in community and team building, making tough decisions, and playing to win while not neglecting friends and family.

What does Executive Management have in common with the central figures of a fictitious Mafia crime family in The Godfather? Being a fan of the trilogy I believe there is plenty…

The Godfather is touted as “one of the best movies ever made” and one should never miss a chance to watch all three when you have some down time.

During my most recent viewing I realised that the movies offered many teaching moments relevant for today’s business life.

We certainly don’t endorse crime or violence, and I’m not suggesting business should operate like the Mafia but there are some universal themes in the movie relevant to running a business.

Here are five essential leadership lessons:

Build a powerful community

Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. ~Vito Corleone

Uttered in the iconic rasp of Marlon Brando, the words of Vito Corleone illustrate how he creates a loyal community among those he has helped. By granting these favours and helping people with their problems, Vito Corleone is building a network of influence–relationships that may or may not deliver a specific or quantifiable return, but all which serve to strengthen his power base and which have the potential to be reciprocal in the long run.

Building strategic partnerships enables companies to work through challenging markets and fast-track overall success.

Hold people accountable

What’s the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft. ~Vito Corleone

The Godfather reminds us of the importance of being tough when necessary. As soon as Vito Corleone allowed a few moments of weakness to be seen by his enemy, they attempted to assassinate him. And it was largely because of failures of his team.

In business, accountability isn’t achieved by a murderous rampage. But the lesson is this–to be successful in business you have to be tough, and you have to be extremely focused on hitting goals and getting results. That doesn’t mean patience and understanding don’t have a place, but ongoing tolerance of low-performing people or products just eats away at the success of the entire company. You are ultimately responsible for all of your employees and shareholders, and that requires tough and swift decisions.

Don’t get emotional

It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business. ~Michael Corleone

Many people don’t like to talk about the fact that in business, there are winners and losers. When Sonny Corleone reacts impulsively and emotionally, he gets taken out. In business, if you don’t take the opportunity to out-sell, out-bid, or out-market your competitor, they’ll take you out. I’m not suggesting doing anything outside the boundaries of morality or rightness–simply pointing out that when people make emotional decisions, they start making bad decisions. To lead successfully, you have to take your emotion and ego out of the equation.

It’s important to play to win. In business, that translates to knowing the competition and always staying at least one step ahead. Operate your business with integrity and have respect for competition, but you also need to seize opportunities to eliminate your competition and win.

Be decisive

Most people who appreciate The Godfather watch the movie with a combination of shock and respect. Shock because he is so ruthless that he kills his own family member, but respect for the fact that Don Corleone knows exactly what he wants, executes decisively, and commands respect through unwavering leadership.

While you don’t have to kill anyone to prove a point, as soon as you know what choice to make, move forward. Know who on your team is making the right choices, and trust them to take decisive action as well. Hesitation too often leads to missed opportunities.

Spend time with your family

Do you spend time with your family? Because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man. ~Vito Corleone 

This is maybe a little too full on but the excessive working hours that are more the norm for management these days are not sustainable in the long run.

Management can’t be successful in creative problem-solving and making excellent decisions unless they are connected to people and passions outside of work.  Finding time with family and friends provides the perspective you need to build the relationships and make the decisive actions required for continued success in business.

Contact our dedicated team today

To open a discussion on how we can provide professional management & senior appointment permanent recruitment services for your next role, contact one of the experts here in Melbourne. We will consult and partner with you to become an extension of your business providing a recruitment solution tailored specifically to your unique requirements.  Secure the right management appointments to meet your business goals. Speak to HORNER today.

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