Leadership Lessons from the Mafia, Hell’s Angels, and Gang Bangers

Would your organization thrive if governments spent billions of dollars trying to destroy it?

Criminal organizations overcome all the challenges and obstacles of legal organizations plus the opposition of law enforcement. And they still thrive.

Magnet

Attract the 'right' people if you aspire to outlast the competition.

Organizations that last a long time, “Hold on to a credo.” Daniel Forrester

  1. Attract the right people. Passionate believers deliver great results.
  2. Embrace values: customer focus, freedom, loyalty, resourcefulness, speed, and immorality. (The inclusion of immorality is not an endorsement but an acknowledgement of criminal values.)

Organizations that outlast the competition, cling tenaciously to values and attract the ‘right’ people.

3 things that are remarkable about criminal organizations:

#1. Decentralized decision-making.

They push down almost all the day-to-day decisions to the people on the streets.

Mafia bosses do not decide which heists to do.

#2. Long-term recruiting mechanisms.

It’s difficult to get in. You might have to do crime for 8 or 10 years before you’re finally admitted to the Mafia.

#3. Incredibly strong culture.

It’s a badge of honor to belong. Even if you’re just a friend of a Mafia boss, they’re going to protect you.

The primary role of the boss:

Top leadership in organizational life solves the challenges of Strategy-Incentives-Alignment. Beyond that…

“The primary role of the Mafia boss is keeping peace in the family.” Jerold Zimmerman

Organizational success distills into 4 pillars:

  1. Effectively delegate. (empowerment)
  2. Consistently measure performance.
  3. Reliably reward or punish performance. (incentives)
  4. Intentionally create corporate culture that executes on strategy.

“The Four Pillars determine what is produced, how it is produced, and for whom it is produced, and as such determines an organization’s success and survivability.” Relentless: The Forensics of Mobsters’ Business Practices

How might leaders build organizations that outlast the competition?

This post is based on my conversations with Jerold Zimmerman, Ph.D. and Daniel Forrester, authors of, Relentless: The Forensics of Mobsters’ Business Practices.”

Jerold L. Zimmerman, Ph.D., is the author of Relentless: The Forensics of Mobsters’ Business Practices. He is a globally recognized microeconomist and author of seven books and has taught organizational economics, accounting, and finance at the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School for more than forty years.

https://jeroldzimmerman.com

Daniel P. Forrester is the author of Relentless: The Forensics of Mobsters’ Business Practices. He is the founder of THRUUE, Inc  an expert consultancy that assists leaders in bridging the gap between corporate culture and corporate strategy.

https://www.danielforrester.com – Daniel on Twitter.