The Godfather Got it Wrong: “It’s Not Personal…..”

I love a great Godfather quote more than anyone, and this could be the most famous of them all:

godfather not personal just business
I’m not one to challenge the GF.  But as it relates to building a business, he got it wrong.

It’s not Personal?  IF your a leader, have you ever had to….

  • Terminate an employee?

  • Go a different direction in your business where other people are “left behind?”

  • Give a raise you KNOW will let them down?  Or no raise at all?

  • Make a decision on an employee that is facing personal hardship?

  • Listen to a customer that is leaving you because your price was 1/2 of 1% too high?

And the list goes on.  Try quoting the GF in these situations and see how that works for you (sarcasm).

Leadership is not for everyone, especially those that  can’t make tough calls.  Decision making and balancing the needs of all stakeholders is what leadership is all about.  So I guess one can argue the GF provides some “motivation” to make the tough calls that have to be made.  Score one for the GF!

But lets think for a moment about COMPETING in the marketplace.  Or SHOPPING in the marketplace.


If you think long and hard, I would venture to say that what is missing is not ENOUGH “personal.”

Too much business.  Too much black and white.  Lack of transparency.  Maybe lack of heart.  Lack of caring.  

Transactions?  Yes.  Relationships?  Not so much.  

  • Have you ever dealt with a company when YOU are the customer, and YOU felt like a bother to them?

  • Have you ever felt “nickle and dimed” with a company when trying to resolve a conflict?  As if the long term value of the relationship is a concept only to be read about and not lived?

So think about the brands and companies that REALLY stand out and you would go out of your way for.

  • Do you think about their balance sheet, or do think about their people you are interacting with?

  • Do you think about how BIG they are, or how big they make YOU feel?

  • What about your employees?  Do they care just about their paycheck, or are they really loyal to their boss, their cause and their team?

The Godfather is in a completely different business.  It’s a business where they have the luxury to “Take the Gun, leave the Cannoli!”

All other businesses?

Maybe, just maybe……it is time to get MORE personal.

When your small, is there any other option?

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