March 27, 2013 fm

What Leaders Can Learn From The Godfather

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The inspiration for this post didn’t come from New York. The inspiration didn’t come from Vegas either. The inspiration for this post came from Prague. Six likable lawyers and me. Not an oxymoron but a charisma seminar. The final task: creative group presentation. How to lead better with more charisma. Every team one theme. One team picked The Godfather theme. They gave a presentation that just hit the content nail on the head!

Leaders can learn at least three things from The Godfather.


1) Values

What are the values of Vito Corleone? What drives him in all his decisions? What comes always first for The Godfather? The family. He has one value and one value only. The family comes first – always!

Now ask yourself – what are your values? I’m not talking about those seven corporate values that have been implemented in your company in a top-down approach: Teamwork, understanding, respect, proactivity, integrity, …. Do these values sound familiar?

No, I’m talking about YOUR value. What do YOU really stand for? What is it that comes first in YOUR priorities?

Learn from The Godfather! Have one super value and stick to it – always!

2) Confidence

How does Vito Corleone take decisions? Are they pragmatic? Are they spontaneous? Are they hot-tempered?

No, The Godfather follows a process of a) getting advice b) discussing c) taking a decision.

More striking even – look at who he listens to. There is Tom Hagen, the logical, structured, cool person, the consigliere. Tom Hagen is logos. Then, there is Sonny, his eldest son. Emotional, hot-tempered, aggressive, quick, passionate. Sonny is pathos. The Godfather himself is ethos – authority, credibility, leader.

Vito Corleone seeks advice from complementary personalities. Once he has the full picture he takes a decision with confidence based on the three pillars or rhetoric – logos, ethos, pathos.

Now ask yourself – who are YOUR advisors and do they have complementary personalities? Are you Tom Hagen, or Sonny, or Vito Corleone?

Learn from The Godfather! Surround yourself with the right advisors and take decisions with confidence – always!

3) Inspiration 

His strong family value and his ability to take decisions with confidence and, of course, his talent for making offers no one can refuse, turn Don Corleone in this shatter-proof fountain of inspiration for his people.

Now ask yourself – do YOU inspire YOUR team? And how do you do it? Will YOUR team follow you as Vito Corleone’s team follows him?

Learn from The Godfather! Stick to your values, be confident even in troublesome times and be a fountain of inspiration – always!


Leaders can learn a lot from The Godfather. This I discovered during that great presentation in Prague. Thank you, Jörg Zätzsch & Co., for YOUR values, YOUR confidence, and YOUR inspiration!

Comments (3)

  1. Deepak Dhungel

    Values, confidence and ability to inspire also during hard times are not easy tasks. Those who prove it are great leaders though finding everything in a person can be unrealistic.

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