Business lessons from The Godfather: make them an offer they can’t refuse (part 1 of 3)

There are times that require strategy. Then there are times that require proactive measures. And then there are those times that require strategy and proactive measures – and that’s when you derive an offer that no one can refuse.

Good business etiquette as found in The Godfather is checkered with crime and other not so advisable qualities to take back and apply to work. But, there some noteworthy lessons in the way that Don Vito “Andolini” Corleone got his start, made his mark and maintained it.

The key to good business is good leadership. To get to a point where you can legitimately make someone an offer they can’t refuse, you have to possess a few key qualities. You have to be tactical, a critical thinker and…happy? According to a recent LA Times article, those who are happier earn bigger paychecks – or in Godfather terms, rule the mafia roost as far as the five families go. People are drawn to self-assured, self-directed people. You have to be confident, happy and powerful in your own right in order to be convincing – and effective.

We can’t all go around with an Italian mob family, guns blazing and bully our way through business – although sometimes I’m sure that some of us wish we could.
Lesson: be happy, be confident.

Identify that there is a need. Vito Corleone commits his first murder, of Massimo Fanucci, when he realizes how badly Fanucci is abusing the poor people of the small New York City neighborhood where they live. Corleone knew that he would have easy allies given Fanucci’s bad approach to business.

At work, this innate ability to identify a need – albeit in personnel, structure, process, etc. – is invaluable. Business is hungry for natural innovators.
Lesson: recognize opportunities and make your move.

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” One of the best business practices that Corleone possesses is his ability to attract and maintain a close posse of organized criminals. What he realizes – fundamentally – is that criminals are by their very nature not trustworthy. In that, he makes friends with those who he can leverage in the interim without applying any future, unrealistic expectations on them, in the interest of his business.

Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say that all business people are present day criminals or that you need to sleep with one eye open when it comes to your coworkers. But, what I will say is that you need to be mindful of who you associate with at work, what value you put in those people and therefore what kind of power you allow them to have over you and your career.
Lesson: create strategic partnerships.


The Godfather photo credit:

By: BusinessandWorkplace / On: March 05, 2013 /

In: Business and Workplace


Recent Posts