Extort With Love


Don Corleone, the key character in “The Godfather”, classically declared “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Clearly, “Or else” is sometimes the answer. In building an enterprise, an organization, a movement, the purpose is to achieve a specific result. “By any means necessary” is a well-known statement. However, it can be a little extreme. So, how is life or death urgency created without anyone actually dying?

First, metaphorically, death must be a clear option! If an enterprise misses enough revenue targets, operational deadlines, payrolls, then the enterprise ceases to exist. Extortion literally involves forcing someone to perform an action to avoid extreme pain. Extortion causes resentment. It also leads to results! Love implies cooperation, commitment, and trust. Interestingly, when pursuing interpersonal, family, or organizational goals, extortion and love start to blend together. I have witnessed mothers from an earlier generation firmly tell their children, “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll always love you. But, I will miss you!” Extreme consequences are an option. Nevertheless, to extort with love, leaders must unquestionably achieve results and enthusiastically have tasks performed. Even when avoiding pain is the primary motivator.

Consistency Counts
Leaders who make threats must be prepared to deliver on the consequences, every time. Empty threats lead to empty performance. Of course, opportunities for grace are allowed. Beware, repeated grace gives birth to systemic abuse. Once a standard is established, the entire organization is accountable. Once success is achieved, the entire organization participates in the bounty. All participants do not benefit equally any more than all participants contribute equally. But, consistency demands all participants benefit fairly. Reward quickly. Reward publicly. Then, establish the next goal. Do not deviate!

Results Matter
A favorite quote for results-oriented sales teams says, “Efforts are applauded; results are rewarded!” In achieving quantifiable goals, leaders must be clear how successful execution is communicated and rewarded. Metrics are important. Clearly state them. All team members need to know what measurement is important to their role, then receive regular feedback. Reinforce the positive. Punish the negative. Success requires tracking both.

Love works best when it is clearly communicated and experienced. You love team members equally without necessarily loving them the same. Threats do work. Inconsistent brutality, not so much. Leaders must not let the team lose track of the consequences for poor performance. Pain is the outcome of mediocrity… eventually for everyone! Love is the outcome of enduring, productive relationships. Unfortunately, relationships do not endure when members are dismissed. “Or else” remains a possibility. But building intentionally and compassionately toward success is a possibility, too. Success requires both!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Mo Patton Sports, LLC
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

About Hunter & Beyond, LLC

Glenn W Hunter presents his proven perspectives on business growth. He shares skills and tactics resulting in increasing sales for organizations ranging from start-ups to large corporations. His expertise focuses on storytelling, branding and networking to cultivate relationships that lead to increased revenue.
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