Monday, July 30, 2012

Five Leadership Lessons from “The Godfather”

By Virgil Carter

Probably everyone remembers the movie “The Godfather”, the 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan as leaders of a powerful New York crime family.  Writer Lydia Dishman, in a recent article in Fast Company magazine, quotes Justin Moore, CEO and founder of Axcient, who says, “I 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 I can relate to as a CEO”.

Here are the five essential leadership lessons noted by Moore:

·        Build a powerful community:  Moore says building strategic partnerships enables companies to work through challenging markets and fast-track overall success.  “Partnerships forged through time, trust and mutual benefits are the types of community relationships that bring about the greatest returns”, Moore suggests.

·        Hold people accountable:  “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 products, and that requires tough and swift decisions.”

·        Don’t get emotional:  “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”, says Moore.  Likewise, Moore says 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 beat your competition and win”.

·        Be decisive:  When 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:  Moore isn’t endorsing 1940s machismo, but he is decrying 100-hour workweeks that many entrepreneurs fall prey to in hot pursuit of the next big thing.  “A leader can’t be successful in creative problem-solving and making excellent decisions unless that person is connected to people and passions outside of work.  I find that it’s often time with family and friends that gives me the perspective I need to build the relationships and make the decisive actions required for continued success in business, “ says Moore.

Is this a “deal too good to pass up”?

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