01 Mar

12 Leadership Lessons from “The King’s Speech”

The King's Speech

The inspiring 2010 Oscar Best Film “The Kings Speech” was based on the true story of the Duke of Windsor struggling to overcome a speech impediment in order to fulfill responsibilities as a great leader. While preparing to assume the throne as King George VI he was faced with the challenge of making positive changes to his limited self-image, his internalized negative belief system, and an overall perception of his own potential greatness.

In the Oscar-winning movie his speech therapist tells him that he can become a great king despite personal obstacles. But first the Duke must visualize himself in his own mind as a king with no stammer and essentially flawless speech. Eventually the Duke of Windsor does transform himself into the great King George VI by working extraordinarily hard to overcome obstacles and achieve his ultimate goal.

While watching the wonderful film I realized that there is really very little difference between preparing to be King and preparing to be the leader of a large and powerful corporation. The process that the duke followed to attain greatness was focused upon overcoming deep-rooted fears and limitations to personal growth, and those are the same issues and topics that I address when coaching and mentoring high potential leaders through my unique 10-step Predictable Promotion System™.

Let’s examine some of the impediments and problems the Duke of Windsor had to resolve in order to realize his destiny as King of England, as they relate to the process of preparing to be a truly outstanding corporate leader. To be fully qualified to assume the throne he had to:

  1. Become committed to doing whatever was required to prepare himself for his royal role.
  2. Change his internal self-image and own the idea of actually being a successful King.
  3. Trust in a mentor to help him advance to this position of power and then continue his growth and development even after accepting the exalted position of King.
  4. Practice relentlessly between sessions with his coach as he followed an intentional action plan and blueprint for overcoming obstacles and self-sabotaging internalized beliefs.
  5. Develop confidence in himself and faith in the unseen – regardless of his daily reality.
  6. Visualize a flawless leadership performance within the theatre of his mind.
  7. Push past the ego in order to seek assistance to realize and leverage his full potential.
  8. Overcome early childhood identity issues and resolve prior life failures and humiliations.
  9. Take the initial bold step by delivering his first wartime speech to the world despite his speech challenges and his apprehension about being thrust into the spotlight.
  10. Act with courage, perseverance, and passion because he knew his people needed to hear an inspiring and persuasive message from him during a tumultuous time of crisis.
  11. Follow through by exuding confidence and regal presence after giving his first speech.
  12. Know that by stretching beyond his comfort zone that his fears would subside and he would become empowered to leave behind an historic legacy of exemplary leadership.

These 12 challenges are really quite similar to what real leaders of today must face if they intend to play a much bigger and more responsible leadership game. This Oscar-worthy film is not only exceptionally interesting and entertaining, in other words, must it also offers many valuable lessons to those who aspire to excel in corporate leadership positions. Just as royalty have to prepare to lead a country, organizational leaders need to prepare to overcome any self-limiting beliefs that might stand in the way of their role as inspiring leaders with powerfully charismatic executive presence.

Have you ever had the opportunity of a big career position or promotion but were afraid that you were not fully prepared to seize the day? Do you ever question whether you have the skills and qualifications to fill the shoes of the person who previously occupied that position? If a vacancy at the next level suddenly opened up would you be ready at a moment’s notice to take the helm, or are there areas you want to strengthen in order to ensure your confidence and poise as a multi-dimensional leader? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.

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Copyright © 2011, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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