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Michael Franzese: How to Run a Business Like a True Boss

CBN.com A MAN WITH A PAST AND A HOPE

Michael Franzese was the son of the legendary Sonny Franzese, a kingpin in New York’s Colombo crime family. He was studying to be a doctor at Hofstra University.  When Michael’s father was sent to prison, he left school to try to help win his dad’s freedom, and joined “the life.”

At age 24 Michael became a sworn member of the Colombo Crime family.  He began working to help Joe Colombo protest the treatment of Italian Americans, handing out fliers at a rally in Columbus Square, and was standing nearby when Colombo was shot.  For Michael, this was the beginning of a life that took him from college athlete to Mob Capo.

At age 35, he was number 18 on Fortune Magazine's list of the 50 most wealthy and powerful mafia bosses in America. He was considered the biggest moneymaker in the mob since Al Capone. Michael masterminded brilliant scams, from auto dealerships to union kickbacks, financial services to the worlds of sports and entertainment, and a multi-billion dollar gasoline tax scheme.

Among his many operations, Michael also produced the movie Knights of the City, a break-dance movie ala West side Story with Sammy Davis, Jr.

Michael met and married Camille Garcia, a beautiful dancer from Anaheim.  Cammy, a Christian, was very instrumental in Michael’s decision to do the unthinkable – quit the mob. Cammy introduced Michael to the Lord in a fresh and real way. She was living it, and he saw in her something dramatically different.  It was at that time that he decided to walk away from his life in the mob. Michael accepted a 10-year prison sentence, chose not to enter the witness protection program, and did not testify against his mob brethren.

A MAN ON A MISSION

Michael had served five years, was out, and then violated his parole.  He sat in his cell despondent. A guard appeared, saw his condition, and gave him a Bible.  That one act of kindness by a man Michael saw one time – and never again – was the catalyst to complete what was begun with Cammy – Michael’s transformation. 

The Bible opened to Proverbs 16:7 where Michael read, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, even his enemies are at peace with him." At that moment, alone, Michael surrendered -- not to the law of man, but to the law of God, reaching out for amazing grace.

"As a sworn member of La Cosa Nostra, I knowingly took an oath, a blood covenant that obligated me to live my life in conflict with both the laws of God and of man. Although the Lord Jesus was known to me, at the time, I chose to give authority over my life to the boss of the Colombo crime family. Today, there is no doubt in my mind that I was doomed to spend an eternity in hell had I continued to reject the authority and live outside of the grace of my true boss, Jesus Christ. Mark 14:24 tells me that the blood of the covenant of Jesus set me free from the covenant with the mob."

Today Michael no longer considers himself a member of organized crime. He uses the experiences of his former life to warn at-risk youth, professional and student athletes, and corporate executives about the danger of letting gambling control your life.

BUSINESS IS BUSINESS

Criminal activity has no place in society. “It’s destructive, immoral, and harmful to innocent people,” says Michael.  Yet, he says there are some similarities between running a mob enterprise and operating a legitimate business. Here are some tips from a mobster’s approach to business that can prove beneficial in the straight workplace:

  • Become a good listener in your business dealings. It conditions you to gather information before acting or making a decision that will impact your business.
  • Don’t come unprepared. Know your position, know the temperament of the people you are meeting with, and do your homework. You have a better chance of coming out a winner.
  • People want to do business with a company they can trust. Companies that engage in questionable or outright unethical practices will ultimately be exposed and suffer the consequences.

“The men who run the business of organized crime are more than qualified to do so,” says Michael.  “Without ever earning a bachelor’s degree, a master degree, or a PhD, and in many cases without even graduating from high school, mobsters have managed to operate and dominate legitimate businesses having annual revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

BUSINESS BASICS

To be successful in business Michael says you have to have a plan. A clear, focused, written plan is critical. It will help keep you on track as far as the direction you want your business to take and show you how to get there. Even the mob guys have a plan. Once you’ve got your plan, you have to work it.

“I never met a mobster who didn’t start his day at the crack of dawn,” shares Michael. For those people who want to achieve success in business without putting in the time, Michael says fuggetaboutit! “You better get a drawer full of silk pajamas. That’s about the closest to feeling wealthy you’re going to get.” The harder you work to build your business, the less likely you are to give in to the pressure.

You also want to work your plan well. Don’t operate your business in a panic; slow down and eliminate the clutter from your head and your desk. A state of frenzy can often prevent you from achieving the very success you are trying to obtain.

Assemble the right crew to support your efforts. You need people who are capable, reliable, and most important, honest.

 

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