No letters after my name

But lots of success. There was no training then! And all I could do was learn by experience. And Christ what an experience. The plaque says, ‘L. Logue, Speech Defects’. No Dr., no letters after my name. Lock me in the Tower.” – Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) in The King’s Speech

These lines of dialogue come from my favorite scene in this year’s Best Picture winner, The King’s Speech.  To read the whole scene, check out pages 131 to 135 in the online screenplay.

In the scene, Lionel the speech therapist is confronted by Bertie, the king, for his perceived lie, attempting to pass himself off as a doctor.  Lionel corrects the record, providing evidence that he never claimed any unearned credentials, and offers my favorite portion of his story, “There was no training then! All I could do was learn by experience.”

So too is the life of someone driving change, no lettered training, only experience and success to guide you forward.  Professor John Kotter admits to the lack of training in strategy implementation in the preface to his book, Buy-in, where he writes,

…the amount of thought and education put into creating good ideas is far higher today than the knowledge and instruction on how to implement those ideas.  In the world of business, for example, the field of strategy has made huge advances in the past twenty years.  The field of strategy implementation, in contrast, has made much less progress.”

If you are looking for a road map to successful implementations, beware falling into the starting trap of Archbishop Lang, who was willing to toss away success for the sake of credentials first-and-foremost.

Keep driving change my friends.  Maybe someday one of us will create the course that leads to some credentials.  Until then let’s let our experience and our success speak for us instead of little letters behind our names.

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