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An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Leadership Lessons From “The Godfather”

Don Corleone isn't impressive because he's responsible for murders, extortion, or breaking any law that gets in his way – he's impressive because he can manage an entire organization without seeming overwhelmed. He acts quickly, builds a strong base around him, and doesn't let emotions get in the way of his decisions. In this article from Fast Company, Lydia Dishman recounts CEO Justin Moore's take on what makes Don Corleone such a good example of excellent leadership. One quality that put Corleone above the rest: willingness to hold people (and yourself) accountable for thier actions  :

 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,” Moore observes. “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,” says Moore. That doesn't mean patience and understanding don't have a place, he says, 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.
Other helpful tips we can learn from Don Corleone include keeping yourself non-emotional about decisions or results, making sure you're decisive and stick by your decision, and keeping business and family in perspective of eachother. While nobody should really make an effort to start up a crime syndicate like the Corleone family, they can learn a few lessons from the patient, planning, and decisive Don.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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