Thursday, December 10, 2009

What I Want

One of my favorite scenes in The Godfather is when Michael Corleone faces a tense sit-down with Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo and the corrupt Police Captain Mark McCluskey. Meeting to discuss a recent assassination attempt on his father, Michael tries to speak with Sollozzo in their native tongue. But the young man's grasp of Sicilian is weak - at least when it comes to dealing with the men responsible for nearly whacking The Godfather.

At first, he struggles to make his point in Sicilian: "Ma voggiu ca - Come si dice...?" And then he abandons the effort, switching to English. Practically spitting out his words through his recently broken jaw, Michael announces: "What I want... what's most important to me..." He follows up the phrase in the most Machiavellian manner. He excuses himself from the table, retrieves a gun and returns, killing them both.

I don't advocate Michael's choices, but I do respect the forcefulness and clarity of his statement, What I want.

I'm working slowly on a series of blog posts dedicated to observations on how you can "get what you want" where you work. I'm still thinking through a number of issues, but I'm certain that the process begins with knowing what you want and being able to articulate that goal without ambiguity. You don't need to employ such ruthlessness as Michael Corleone - and again, I do not recommend stashing a pistol in the restroom before attending a meeting - but you are wise to know and clearly state what you require from your relationships.

Keep watching this blog for updates...

(Image borrowed from USA Today)

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