Life Lessons from The Kings Speech

"Ok, this is the secret..."

Historically, my kids hated me bringing them to the cinema. Invariably I fell asleep. Having a dad who snores like Arnold Ziffel (do you remember the pig in Green Acres?)  is acutely embarrassing – or so I’m told. No doubt they will work it through with some future therapist. But, sometimes a movie is so good, I make a real effort to stay awake.

During The King’s Speech, I was compos mentis until the final credits. According to the attendance figures – a lot of other people in Ireland also enjoyed it – and the Hollywood vote confirmed this. Some of the material was quite close to home. My youngest daughter, Nicole, attended a speech therapist for about 10 years – so watching the King trekking to the sessions brought back a number of personal memories. In addition to the sense of déjà vu, the movie reinforced two central issues.

Do Something: The King had the wherewithal to take on a difficult personal challenge, never easy when you are ‘already successful’. The Lesson: If it’s not working, have the guts to do something about it. Ted Waite, the founder of Gateway computers said: “If you don’t do something, nothing happens!” Perhaps not the most eloquent thought of all time, but bang on the money. And, if you are not sure what to do – get external help to shift the fog. The only sin is not trying.

Not Qualified: The second issue was that the therapist was not formally qualified. Don’t misconstrue this. I’m not anti-qualification and admire people who make the tough climb through college. But there’s a lot of intellectual snobbery surrounding particular colleges, degrees and levels of achievement. I once participated in an interview when a candidate presented who had a pass degree. My co-interviewer, a PhD Chemist (who obviously missed the instruction module on ‘good interview technique’), asked the candidate: “Were you lazy, stupid or both?”

Historically, the pharmaceutical and educational sectors were rife with this – people making themselves seem clever by making other people look stupid. The technology and financial services sectors tended to suffer less in this regard – focusing more (rightly) on whether someone could actually do the job. If you haven’t made it to college yet, you join a long list of highly successful people who were schooled by life experiences (including many of the richest people in Ireland).

So there you go. You can learn stuff at the cinema. It’s not just escapism, jumbo hot dogs or a chance for a snooze that entices me there. When you see me in UCI, I’m sharpening the saw.

Paul Mooney

PS News Update: Following on from all that speech therapy, Nicole now curses like a time-served Marine Engineer. Zero impediments. Be careful what you wish for!

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About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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