Watch CBSN Live

Do Business Like a Mafioso

godfather1.jpgHeadman Bernardo Provenzano may be in jail, but he reversed the Mafia's failing fortunes and revitalized their image during the decade he was in power using a system that's detailed in a new book by John Murray. An article in The Guardian details his seven-point plan towards doing business, mafia style. Somewhat surprisingly, his business mantra was less "Make him an offer he can't refuse" and more based on mediation and good PR.

Here's my favorite part of his strategy:

Rule 7: Modesty During his career, Provenzano transformed himself from a hired thug, to business investor, political mastermind and, ultimately, strategist and leader. Part of his mystique was that no one really knew whether he was a genius or an illiterate chancer. To emphasise his humble character and present himself as a simple man of the people he would write letters full of spelling and grammatical mistakes, and always signed off with the same humble apology: "I beg your forgiveness for the errors in my writing ..."

Every letter ends with the same saintly and affectionate benediction and an apology for grammatical errors. The bad spelling and schoolboy mistakes detracted nothing from the authority of its writer. For a man who moved easily in the worlds of business and politics, it was apparently part of a carefully constructed image. Investigators maintain his semi-literacy was a deliberate ruse.

Here at Business Hacks, we don't support faking stupidity. But once you're in charge, a little humbleness can go a long way. (via Boing Boing)
View CBS News In