The Godfather: Procurement Lessons Inspired by the Mafia


The Godfather of Business


Ever wish you could send a supplier the message that they’ll be sleeping with the fishes if they don’t sign a contract? Well this blog is for you!



I’d never really suggest these things. I’d prefer we all keep our day jobs and stay out of jail. Otherwise, I’ll be the only one reading my blog.

So, I’ve compiled a list of legitimate and legal pieces of business advice we can take from the mafia. Despite some of their actions, albeit criminal, still have legitimate lessons to be learned from them.

Just without the machine guns, shovels and a maybe a quick drive to the Bronx.

The Godfather – Part 1


Strategic Alliances


Having the local police on your payroll may help you hide your crimes, but eventually the FBI will catch up with you. Just because a person is in power, doesn’t mean they are the right person to be connected with.

Having not only the right support, but also the key stakeholders can make a difference. So how do we plan for the unexpected?

By making sure we complete a stakeholder analysis prior to starting any project. Understandingh the influence of all parties prior to kick-off. Review previous engagements and influencers.

Otherwise you run the risk of getting blindsided late in the game. And you might not get to finish the veal.


Finding a New Opportunity


If there’s anything the mafia is good at, it’s finding hidden opportunities. The ones that are in plain sight, but may be too daunting or dirty.  The best example of this – Las Vegas.

That’s why we should always try to find our ‘Vegas.’ Maybe it’s commodity that’s too political internally and everyone is afraid to approach. Maybe it’s a sourcing opportunity that’s been given to a supplier due to a family or personal connection.

No matter what it is, you need to find opportunity where others refuse to go due to hard work or politics. Because sometimes opportunity can look like a pile of dust from afar. You just won’t know the opporunity until you are in the middle of it!


Havard Business Review Article  – What businesses can learn from organized crime – LINK

godfather movie mafia

The Godfather – Part 2

Loyalty and Betrayl


The lesson is simple. If you are willing to betray your own family once, odds are they will not hesitate to do it again. Within the Mob, there’s no room for a loss of loyalty or betryal. They don’t give second chances, and in the business world, neither should you.

Who doesn’t know the sting of being thrown under the bus? That’s why you must pick and choose your alliances, carefully. Therefore, what should you do if it does happen?

Take a hint from the Godfather – confront it head on.  If you don’t do it in person, an email will suffice. I find a simple, “Can you help me understand why you told Bob, ‘x’? can put someone back on their heels, without being overly brash.

For more insight on how to deal with back stabbing coworkers – check out my blog on handling the two-faced foe.


Make an offer they can’t refuse


Now I’m not saying you should threaten to leave either their brains or signature on a contract. That would be foolish. Repeat business would be a disaster.

But the idea that you want to have a business partner feel like they need to work with you, is one that should be taken to heart. You need them to work on your terms and feel that it is in their best interest.

We all know money is a motivation, but so are contract penalties. Fear can be an effective way to run your business, but it shouldn’t be the only way. You are not going to get peak performance with any supplier living in fear. And they aren’t going to stay long if the penalities are too large.

The Godfather – Part 3

If anything we can learn from this movie, is to make sure to manage your money well. Dire financial situations should not be the cause of a third epilogue that brings the whole franchise down a notch… but I digress.


Stay Sharp


If anything you can see from any Mafia movie or history is that not much is written down. And this is for good reason. Who wants to get caught? So how do you manage multi-million dollar empires over hundreds of years? Well, you better stay sharp!

Having background knowledge and research can help you make decisions quickly.  Some that could give you a competitive edge. It also builds credibility with counterparts.

Are you really going to try and argue with someone who can recount all of their business transactions for the past 10 years? I doubt it. Re-read your market research. Discuss it with a colleague. Make sure to keep up on industry trends.

And there are tons of other ways to keep your mind sharp. But if you are having a hard time rememebering things, check out these articles to improve your memory: the Mayo Clinic: 7 tips to improve your memory and Harvard Health: Improving Memory

The Godfather: Procurement Lessons Inspired by the Mafia 1

More Guidance from the Godfather


Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgement.


The lawyer with the briefcase, can steal more money than the man with the gun.


Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people.


Whatever you do, don’t forget the Cannoli!

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The Godfather: Procurement Lessons Inspired by the Mafia 2

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