Landing the Gig, Part II: Training the Family

Months of networking, greasing palms, and posing as a bus boy, has led to an opportunity of a lifetime. I have an meeting with Mister Don Corleone, owner of Genco Olive Oil Company. I’ll be pitching my training proposal to him hoping to land a contract.  There’s been a rash of driving incidents with Genco, so that’s to be my focus.

Parking my car, I’m 15 minutes early. Strolling, I enter the warehouse at the appointed time. Two large men frisk me. They then escort me to a table where Mr. Corleone is sitting. He holds out the hand with the large signet ring. I shake it, heartily “Donnie, so good to see you again…” and I launch into my pitch.

Citing results from my previous programs, I show how I can decrease drivers’ accidents by 75% while improving productivity. Mr. Corleone nods.  “This is indeed an offer I can’t refuse.” He softly chuckles. With that I have the contract to provide training to Genco Drivers.  I’m so excited that on my way out I don’t see the large washtub and bags of cement and stumble over them. One of the large men escorting me slyly tells me “That’s for the Don’s four o’clock appointment.”

The next day I jump right into the “A” of ADDIE, and begin scoping things out.  It’s curious as I compile the desired compenticies expected of Genco drivers.  Some are expected: obeying traffic laws and defensive driving.  Others puzzle me.  They want drivers to be able to fold a fifty dollar bill so it fits behind a driver’s license when handed to somebody.  They also want their folks to be able to unload and load cargo in dark conditions while parked on side of a road.  But the customer is always right, so I press on and put together a program.

The training is a success! Losses decrease 50% and productivity goes up 38%.  Mr. Corleone gives me a bonus and a challenge. He wasn’t me to develop some training for his other departments. What a great opportunity!

The new training needs are…ummmm…curious.  Apparently the olive oil business runs on cash.  There’s a system of runners taking “numbers” (I’m guessing that’s what they call orders) all over the city. They also carry large amounts of cash.  Many of these runners and their supervisors don’t have the math skills to track what they’re doing. A short basic math skill class gives Genco a 25% decrease in losses. A simple solution with huge results.

This leads a various of other classes: Anger management (often fully booked). Fundamentals of Testifying (evidently the olive oil business is fraught with litigation). And even a class on proper dress (teaching what ties go with pinstripe suits). Word of my classes spread throughout the city and soon other trucking companies want their people to attend. Initially Mr. Corleone is against the idea…

“Never teach against the family.” He tells me. But I crunch some numbers and when Mr. Corleone sees how much money we can make setting up a school, he gives me his blessing. That is how Genco University is born. Soon we have a faculty, registrar, bursar, and waiting lists for our classes. 

As time passes, peculiar things begin to happen. The ubiquitous black sedans become more prevalent.  One is always outside my apartment or in front of the school. There are men in dark suits hanging around Genco U. My phone constantly has an odd clicking sound while I’m talking. But I’m busy and don’t dwell on it.

One crisp fall morning, and I’m approached by two men in suits. They hand me some papers, ramble something about my rights, and throw me in the back of black sedan. Within days I find myself in front a  Senate Committee investigating organized crime. I’m confused. I keep telling them all I do is run a corporate training program. They ask about my accounting classes. I inform them all business programs have such classes. But they want to know why the curriculum includes a lab on keeping a second set of books. I explain by repeating exercises strengthens student’s understanding. They ask about the courses we offer on poker and craps.  I explain it’s part of our game theory program. It goes on and on. Asking about our courses on hiding bodies (just a fun name was came up for our adult hide and seek class) and our blackmail 101 class (it’s a play on words about black hat computer security and email, teaching folks how to keep their emails safe.)  But they don’t listen.

During the hearing, I glance out into the gallery, and see my brother sitting next to Michael Corleone, Don Corleone’s son.  “How great is this…” I think to myself, “The Corleone family went to the expense of flying my brother out to support me during this dark time. What a great group of guys.”

After the hearings, there’s a whirlwind of activities—interrogations, meetings, and trials. When it’s over  I find myself sentenced to 7 years for aiding and abetting. On the bright side, because Sing Sing prison is so overcrowded, they’ve put me in a penitentiary in another state. So I’m doing my time in Maine.  Some place called Shawshank. I just met this guy, Andy. We’re working on plans to renovate the library.  Perhaps something good can come out of this after all.

Hope you enjoyed Craig Plain’s movie related posts. Craig has his own blog where he muses on his work in process improvement…including facilitating events, running organization’s programs, and even training.  Check it out “A Facilitator’s Blog” at

Craig Plain has been watching too many movies during the pandemic and it’s obviously influencing his writing. To read more of Craig’s writing his work facilitating and training process improvement events, check out his blog at “A Facilitator’s Blog” at

Author: Craig Plain

Craig “Doc” Plain, Ph.D. is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, an award-winning Speaker, a Shingo Prize Winner, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, and tenacious practitioner of magic. Doc has over 20 years of process improvement experience. Additionally, he has been involved in training development and delivery at Fortune 50 companies, the military, and several universities. Doc’s dissertation was on the impact implementing process improvement programs has on the social capital of an organization, such as training. Craig was the Air Forces first Instructor for their Black Belt program. He has also been guest lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Purdue University. Doc has presented conferences for International Society for Process Improvement (ISPI), Academy of Human Research Development (AHRD), and American Society for Quality (ASQ). Doc is capturing various stories of facilitating and training at “A Facilitator’s Blog.” (