One of the things that jump out immediately is the issue of respect. Respect is earned; it’s not a given. No matter your rank in life, it means absolutely nothing if those you’re trying to lead and influence don’t hold the same opinion.
The Godfather earned the respect of the people in his community by handling whatever issue they brought to his attention. Unlike other Dons who terrorized their own territory, Don Corleone made sure his community had a leader that addressed their concerns.
Don Corleone made sure his competitors knew he was a man to be taken serious. People knew that Don Corleone was a man of his word and a man not to be crossed.
As an entrepreneur you must work to earn people’s respect for your products and services. You can have the most innovative idea possible but that means nothing if you cannot prove to people why it’s worthwhile.
In any business, be it sales or service, you must uncover the client’s need by asking the right questions and listening. Learn what issues they may be having and let them know how you plan to fix them. When people realize you and your business are serious you deserve and earn their respect.
In all aspects of life, persistence pays huge dividends. You must persist; you must never give up, no matter the odds. The Godfather crime empire did not appear overnight. The empire was built through years of strategic planning and precise execution.
As an entrepreneur you have to connect a lot of random dots and ensure that the dots work in your favor in the long-term rather than the short-term. Nothing falls into your hands. Over 60 percent of new businesses fail in the first year because people were expecting something to fall into their hands.
If you are expecting overnight success forget about it. Do what is required of you and do it with 100 percent effort every time in order to build a background that exemplifies you are determined to succeed.
During my own 40+ years of business, I’ve learned that loyalty is perhaps one of the most important ingredients. Without loyalty and trust you will not gain the respect and support of people.
When people around you suspect you are disloyal, they begin to plot your demise or pull away from you and limit their interaction with you. In The Godfather disloyal behavior usually produced the consequence of death.
In entrepreneurship disloyal behavior will produce alienation and will lead to your eventual failure. For instance Michael Corleone alienated his brother Fredo before killing him off because of his lack of loyalty towards him.
A very brutal message that speaks volumes about how important loyalty is and the disrespect of its importance will not be tolerated. As a business owner, if you show no loyalty to your customers they take their business elsewhere. In my book “It’s the Customer, Stupid!” (John Wiley & Sons), I outline reasons why people remain loyal to you… and why they don’t. The banking industry is experiencing many attacks directed at their behavior towards their customers, many of which come from the competition from other banks. Their lack of concern for their
customers angers them and drives them away.
I once tried to pay my monthly mortgage payment on line and found out that there was a $15 convenience fee. Really? The bank said I could avoid it by moving my checking account to their bank. They tried to “make me an offer I couldn’t refuse.” I call that economic greenmail.
Now, instead of them getting my payment on or before the due date, I wait until the last moment to pay them the old fashion way, by a check through the mail. And if it weren’t such a pain in the hind side, I’d
find another mortgage company.
In The Godfather, the line “It’s only business…” was always the excuse for having someone killed off. Trying to make a profit should not come at the risk of causing harm to the relationship established with your customers.
I speak a lot in the banking industry, which has lost its way over the years. My own bank has changed names three times in the past five years. In my program “The Bank Will Never Be the Same!” my message to the industry is simple; tear down the barriers.
Since the inception of the non-bank banks concept in the eighties, banks have lost their way. They used to make loans and pay people reasonable rates of interest for their deposits. Not any more… greed has taken over.