“Fredo got a seat?…fuhgeddaboudit”

The “OBP”(Original Business Partner), Tom Hagen. Remember the name? Movie buffs will instantly recognize the name as a member of the Corleone family. The Dutch-Irish adopted brother to Mike, Sonny, Connie, and Fredo, right-hand man to Vito, and official “consigliere” for the Family.

Tom is the original HR Business Partner. His role as consigliere offered him a seat at the table for all family matters; he advises and consults the Don on matters of importance, but keeps his hands clean from any of the dirty business that happens on the front lines. He’s a diplomat. A negotiator. A politician, a lawyer, a shadow.

He’s also the first one to be excluded from the family business when the shit hits the fan. Unable to control the volatile Sonny, unable to stand up to the charismatic Michael, his voice is muted when the situation calls for a “war time” consigliere, aka, an outside consultant. You know, just like when the boys and girls from Deloitte come piling into your corporate headquarters to “assist” in the upcoming M&A activities.

The metaphor is even further enhanced by the fact that he’s the adopted brother, i.e., not a “real” member of the family. They love him, they invite him along, the rely on him to keep things moving slowly (“make sure a car is following Kate”), but when the situation is boiled down to its essence, he’s NOT in the inner circle. If you’re in Human Resources, I swear to Pete that’s an uncanny resemblance to the life of a Business Partner. It’s not as bad as being “Fredo” (pretty sure Fredo is Manufacturing), but it’s still not Michael.  (For the sake of the metaphor, “Sonny” is Sales and Marketing.)

Are you involved in the “dirty business” meetings? Are you excluded? A seat at the table comes with privileges and responsibilities that most employees will not enjoy ~ make sure your seat isn’t next to Luca Brazi.

(I’m so unbelievably impressed with my analogy that I’m going to treat myself to a cannoli and watch “Godfather II.”)

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.