“Give them (the wolves) an inch and they’ll take a mile.”
“ . . . . And then if we let them push us around on the little things they wanta take over everything. You gotta stop them at the beginning. Like they shoulda stopped Hitler at Munich . . .”
Clemenza roars when Michael asks if they will invite massive retaliation after he shoots Sollozo, the drug dealer, and the police captain McKluskey, Sollozo’s protector. Michael is meeting the duo later that evening. He goes ahead and shoots them.
The act doesn’t just open a can of worms, but a whole graveyard of bloodthirsty vampires – it starts the Five Families War.
But then, the Corleone Family has to retaliate. Sollozo is using the meeting only to buy time. What he really is after is the head of Don Corleone, Michael’s father. Somehow, the Don has survived two attempts on his life by Sollozo’s henchmen. The Don may be the proverbial “fat cat,” but that doesn’t guarantee nine lives.
If they don’t eliminate Sollozo, he will certainly take the Don down. This will be a total disaster because without the Don’s wide ranging connections, they will be outnumbered and outmatched by the other families.
After encroaching smoothly over Austria in March 1938, German dictator Adolf Hitler set his eyes on Sudetenland, a region in Czechoslovakia with 3 million German origin persons . Czechoslovakia was a French ally. And, halting a belligerent Germany was in British interest.
Initially, Hitler demanded Sudetenland areas with over 50% German origin people to be handed over . It is no coincidence that Sudetenland was a mineral rich area . When Britain and France forced the Czech to agree, he muscled in further and ordered the evacuation of Czech people from the region, which now the German army would occupy.
Again, Britain and France failed to stand up to the German bulldozer. September 1938 saw them submitting meekly to Hitler’s diplomatic aggression at Munich. Czech authorities were not even consulted .
All this for preventing a war.
Knowingly or otherwise, they had conceded the metaphorical inch to a predator, who took more than the proverbial mile by occupying the whole of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. And when he attacked Poland in September 1939, he started World War II .
Clememza was right; they shoulda stopped Hitler at Munich!
Push Back Office Bullies
Does Clemenza’s advice ring a bell? It must. All of us have encountered a bully at some point in our personal and professional lives. You may tolerate a bully from your family or friend circle because they come to your rescue in your hour of heed. Office bullies are particularly irksome.
But before you lose cool and sound like a cry baby, know this – be tactful. For the bully might be your boss. Even otherwise, bullies know how to play dirty . There’s no point in winning the battle and losing the war (Refer: Lessons from The Godfather: Winning Battles is Useless if they Cost You the War).
So what exactly does being tactful entail? Once again, your emotional intelligence comes into play. Bullies won’t be one trick ponies. Intimidation apart, they’ll also use sycophancy and cajoling to get what they want. The answer lies in seeing through the different masks they put on.
Firm and polite denial with the proper explanation is one way.
Say for example, the pushy colleague wants you to share responsibilities that are not exactly yours. The pushy one will praise you excessively, taunt you, intimidate you, or use of combination of these and many more tricks. You can respond by saying your boss has a different list of priorities and you have to follow it.
Next, he/se may want you to agree to his/her point of view on something. In reply, you can present your point of view with the appropriate evidence. Again, the bully will use a lot of ifs and buts. Strike them down as too hypothetical, calmly though.
Let’s say, your boss calls you after office hours or when you are on a much deserved vacation. The situation is not an emergency and you are in no way responsible for the reason he/she has called. You can do well by saying you are relaxing and not exactly in the professional state of mind. Of course, you will deal with it when you get back .
All through the discussion, we have assumed you are an efficient employee. Why else would someone chase you so much?
But, you have to say no in such situations, lest they start taking you for granted. Who knows, this could be the first step towards, pardon the language, making you a doormat.
- Lessons from The Godfather: Make an Offer he Can’t Refuse
- Lessons from The Godfather: Excessive Favouritism is Not Just Bad, its Cancerous
- Lessons from The Godfather: Angry Decisions Invite Disasters
- Lessons from The Godfather: Winning Battles is Useless if they Cost You the War
- Lessons from the Godfather: Never Underestimate Your Opponent, Never Insult his Emissary