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An Offer You Can't Refuse: Leadership Lessons From "The Godfather"

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https://www.fastcompany.com/1826672/offer-you-cant-refuse-leadership-lessons-godfather

fastcompany.com

An Offer You Can't Refuse: Leadership Lessons From "The Godfather"
What does a real-life CEO have in common with the central figures of a fictitious Mafia crime family in The Godfather? According to Justin Moore, CEO and founder of Axcient, plenty. Moore is a serial entrepreneur, early-stage advisor, and angel investor.

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'The Godfather' and how to build up partnerships

Building up strategic partnerships is, for a manager, one sure key to success. According to one of the greatest movies of all time, creating a network is essential to your success as a leader.

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'The Godfather' and how to be a respected leader

In order to keep your business running, sometimes you must be though with the ones around you, as you are responsible not only for your own actions, but also for the others'. Or at least this i...

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'The Godfather' and how to be determined

This worldwide famous movie provided us all with quite a few useful lessons, among which the one concerning how much a leader's determination counts. One sure way to make your team respect you ...

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'The Godfather' and the importance of family

While it presents crimes and a tough world, 'The Godfather' also gives us an insight of how important the family should be in our life. Spending time with your family and friends makes you ...

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Make Your Enemies Into Allies

Pointing out others’ mistakes rarely encourages them to change their behavior, and it certainly doesn’t help them learn anything. People aren’t driven by reason, but by emotion; so a public ...

Be The Beacon Your People Need

Nelson Mandela was lauded as a courageous leader -- even when he was truly terrified. Like the time he astonished his bodyguard by calmly reading a newspaper while the plane he was flying on had engine failure.

Mandela himself, however, later confessed in private that he’d been truly terrified but refused to show it. Mandela knew that courage is a choice, and everyone can be courageous by learning to cope with your anxieties and fears every day. 

Recruit Remarkable Guides

Niccolò Machiavelli held that using advisors well begins with knowing one’s own weaknesses and selecting advisors to offset them. It’s also necessary to know how to solicit advice the right way.

For Machiavelli, that meant showing advisors he valued their honest opinion and would not punish them for giving it. But, at the end of the day, he was the one calling the shots.

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Using Decision Trees

  • Understand the different outcomes that could happen (both positive and negative)
  • Calculate the expected return or loss of each outcome
  • Attach a probability to each outcome
  • ...

Use Decision Trees 

Elon Musk uses decision trees to make big decisions (a tool that uses a tree-like graph or model of decisions and their possible consequences, outcomes, and resources). They are particularly useful for avoiding stupid risks and big bets that aren’t likely to succeed.

Most became a billionaire by making unlikely big bets, as their expected return statistically was much higher than safer bets.

Build Deep, Long-Term Relationships

One of the best ways to get information is not from just being better at searching Google, it’s from learning how to build a network and get the information you need through that network. 

This network should include people’s lessons learned and hacks, topics that are too sensitive to talk about because they make someone look bad, and tacit knowledge (knowledge that people have but aren’t able to articulate).

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Exercising Integrity

Not every leader is benevolent. Many leaders have insight, initiative, influence, and impact but their lives and legacies are tainted by a lack of integrity.

A great leader must have a lif...

Being Impactful

The measure of leadership is the impact they have on their followers. How much of a difference they make.

They’re either instrumental in creating real lasting change, or they’re not leaders. They’re just entertainers.

Exerting Influence

An authentic leader draws people and compels them to act with his vision and values. He also gives off a positive vibe and is good at persuading others to his point of view.

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The lesson we all got to learn from Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The lesson learned from the movie 'Kim Man-bok'

According to the main character's behaviour, one should used other means of negotiation besides persuasion, which is, undoubtedly, of high importance. For instance, why not try using the very language of the counterparts, if possible. It can lead to unexpectedly good results.

The lesson learned from Buddha

Buddha's belief that anybody can changed is a powerful tool in the hands of good coaches. Having trust in people's ability to change can prove to be way more effective than believing that they can't.

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The Ideal Decision-Making Process

  1. Free discussion: all viewpoints and different aspects of an issue are openly debated and where everyone has a chance to speak or express their opinio...

The Peer-Group Syndrome

Peers tend to look for a more senior manager, even if he is not the most competent or knowledgeable person involved, to take over because they are afraid to stick their necks out.

You can overcome the peer-group syndrome by fostering self-confidence, which stems from being familiar with the issue under consideration, experience and the realization that nobody has ever died from making a wrong business decision.

Striving for the Output

Before jumping into any decision-making process, ask:

  • What decision needs to be made?
  • When does it have to be made?
  • Who will decide?
  • Who will need to be consulted prior to making the decision?
  • Who will ratify or veto the decision?
  • Who will need to be informed of the decision?

Servant leadership

Is a leadership philosophy that is built on the belief that the most effective leaders strive to serve others, rather than accrue power or take control. 

Servant leadership vs. other leadership styles

The authoritarian leadership style:

  • The authoritarian style of leadership requires leaders to have total decision-making power and absolute control over their subordinates. Servant leadership upends the top-down power structure.

Similar leadership styles:

  • Ethical leadership urges leaders to show respect for the values and dignity of their subordinates. Servant leadership's emphasis on taking responsibility for the needs and desires of others.
  • Participative leadership style requires leaders to involve subordinates in setting goals, building teams and solving problems but keep the final decision-making in their own hands. Servant leadership includes some of these elements.

Attributes of a servant leader

  • Listening. A servant leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps to clarify that will.
  • Empathy. A servant leader assumes the good intentions of co-workers and does not reject them as people.
  • Healing. Understand part of their leadership responsibility is to help make whole employees whose sense of self is precarious.
  • Awareness.
  • Persuasion. Servant leaders rely on persuasion not positional authority or coercion, to convince others.
  • Conceptualization. Balancing between thinking big and managing everyday reality.
  • Foresight. The ability to understand the past and see the present clearly to predict how the future will unfold.
  • Stewardship. CEOs, staffs and trustees all have a responsibility to hold the institution "in trust" for the greater good of society.
  • Commitment to the growth of people. Feel a responsibility to nurture the growth of employees.
  • Building community. Find ways to build community in their institutions.

Decision-making rules

Write a clear, objective set of rules to guide future decisions.

It will enable you to make a decision that is detached from the emotion of the moment.

Don't decide alone

Never make an onerous decision by yourself. Tap into the wisdom of the company's internal crowd.

The 'revolving door' approach

... is a technique that relies on using an outside perspective. 

If you're stuck in a big decision, you have to pretend you're a new CEO or a turnaround manager who can "see things more clearly." Adopting a third-person perspective helps you tap into an objective mode of judgment--one based on facts and an understanding of the consequences.

The concept of servant leadership

The actual term for a leader who upends the power pyramid to put others' needs first was introduced by Robert Greenleaf in his influential 1970 essay "The Servant As Leader" in 1970.

The 6 main principles of servant leadership

  1. Empathy. Give trusted co-workers the benefit of the doubt by assuming the good in them. It goes a long way toward instilling loyalty and trust in you from your team.
  2. Awareness. Care deeply about the welfare of the team members. Don't view them only as cogs in a machine.
  3. Building community. Build community where both employees and customers can thrive.
  4. Persuasion. Rely on persuasion rather than coercion to create internal motivation required to complete the task effectively.
  5. Conceptualization. Servant-leading entrepreneurs focus on the big picture and don't get overly distracted by daily operations and short-term goals.
  6. Growth. Care passionately about the personal and professional growth of each member of the team.

Fixing Bad Situations

We are often in situations or circumstances which we don't like. Bad things happen, and it is a natural tendency to focus on negative circumstances.

Wishing that someone you work with, li...

Focus On The Solution

Bad situations and circumstances are not always personal, and not about you. Stop focussing on unworkable options and fixing things (and people) that clearly cannot be fixed.

Start to find workable options in a problem, which may not be perfect, but good enough, and are steps towards progress.

Stoicism

It was founded in the early 3rd century BC and revolves around 3 basic ideas: 

  • How life is brief and the world is unpredictable
  • How to be steadfast, strong,...

Never let wealth distort your values

There is nothing wrong with achieving monetary success; however, you should never compromise your principles in its pursuit. 

Build a village

You are only as strong as the people around you.

You can control whom you interact with, so build a strong personal and professional coalition: hire people with positive energy and create a circle of friends from different backgrounds for engaging conversations.

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