What the “King’s Speech” should mean to You

Movies can be entertaining of course. But there are times although not by intention, they can shine a light on subject matter that bears reflection.

In the movie the King’s Speech, the dynamics between the main characters  (the King, and his speech therapist) reflects an underlying state of contention in the real world that one side (because of title) is an embodiment of superiority, while the other who has demonstrated talents is regarded as inferior because they lack some moniker of worthless alphabet soup following their name. Let me be clear before some of you with degrees starting yelling at your screens. There are times when actual legal attributes are necessary. If you’re a doctor than yes. However, if you’re the “Love Doctor” you can’t (nor is it legal) use the title of Dr. preceding your name unless you have the requisite degrees, and licenses. This of course goes for lawyers, and others that society has required must pass a degree of proven competence with testing, and certifications before interacting with the general public as to protect that same public. If you’re a doctor, lawyer, or architect just to name a few, and I can either go to jail, get crushed in a building, or die by your advice, you can bet I not only want, but will demand to see your credentials. However, most get caught up in “looking like” they are something they’re not, rather than demonstrating what they are, or what they can do to solve a clients problem. Joining some organization (or paying for most) for the sole intention of adding letters to your title so you may appear smart is just plain dumb in my book.

In the movie there is a dramatic scene. There is a confrontation between the King, his therapist, and the Bishop. This analogous scene plays out in more boardrooms than one can count. It’s also where most who have been in the position of the therapist fold like a cheap suit. Why? Because they invest more time in how their business card appears, or how important their title sounds rather than demonstrating what they can actually do to help a client. This is nothing more than an inferiority complex for most acronym seekers. It also cuts the other way for clients seeking results. Many think just because there is some alphabet soup after the person’s name they are competent. And if not, and are later called out for not hiring someone of “caliber” by their peers, they’ll  have what they believe to be some form of defense for their decision. Both situations come from the same convoluted weighting on the importance of monikers, or worthless attributes. In the real world today, yesterday, and tomorrow only one thing has merit, Results!

You must be ready to argue your value proposition to the client. And that proposition must be something that is deliverable, or transferable. Not some pie in the sky no matter what happens you can spin it as a job well done, and collect a check. You should be ready to defend your dignity, reputation, and repute to any mudslinging or any self anointed elite no matter where you are, and more importantly no matter who they are. It is irrelevant that someone holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics, and you may have never graduated high school. If the subject is about selling, and you’re a skilled and competent salesperson with a track record, the smartest person in that room will be You! And you had better get rid of the inferiority complex that allows you to be intimidated if the Ph.D. crowd at the board meeting start demeaning your lack of schooling. You need to argue your value, and demonstrate your skills, or decide that you’re wasting your breath, and politely end the meeting, and leave. If you don’t see yourself as a peer, and an expert in your own field, just as capable, just as competent to argue the good, the bad, and the ugly in your chosen vocation, then no amount of letters after your name will make a damn bit of difference.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr All Rights Reserved