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The Top 100 Movie Quotes for HR Pros: #97 is "It's Not What You Know, It's What You Can Prove"

New series at the Capitalist: The Top 100 Movie Quotes of all time for HR Pros.  In no special order, I break down the 100 movie quotes that resonate most for me as a career HR pro.  Some will be funny, some will be serious... Some will tug at your heart like when the Fox voice-over guy said, "Tonight - a very special episode of 90210"... You get the vibe... I'll do it countdown-style like they're ranked, but let's face it - they're ALL special...

#97 - From Denzel Washington in Training Day - "It's Not What You Know, It's What You Can Prove..."

Remember this one?  Ethan Hawke's the good cop and he's teamed with Denzel Washington (Detective TrainingDay Harris), the bad cop?  Harris/Washington turns out to be the most crooked cop in the history of man and trains Hawke accordingly, teaching him how to be crooked, trapping him in his own behavior and basically daring him to turn him in?

Whether you liked the movie or not, the money line is #97 in our countdown: "It's not what you know, it's what you can prove" Audio Clip here...

Why is that fitting for the HR pro?  How many times have you had someone come to you with a rumor?  Maybe you know it's true, maybe you don't.  You ask the routine follow up question: "How do you know that?"

Standard response: "I heard it from someone else". or my favorite, "I just know".

Perfect, you "just know"....  Sounds like great footing for me to launch an investigation and stop the business for three days while we sort this out.  Or not.  

Which brings us to the Denzel line: "It's not what you know, it's what you can prove..."

You may not say it that directly as an HR pro, but when you ask, "how do you know?", you're asking the same thing.   You need a little evidence before you start accusing people of things.  Another person validating something that was said.  An email.   Something.

Denzel had it right and that's why he's at #97.  It's not what you know, it's what you can prove...

BONUS - Cypress Hill had a jam in this soundtrack, one of my #100 cuts of all time.  Video below...


Kevin W. Grossman

Show me don't tell me, baby.


Well, the rumors and acusations was not exactly the route I thought you'd take this one. This quote is almost begging for a "be relevant," "show impact," "seat at the table" type of connection. And you went the policing route. Nice curveball.


Denzel is never sexier than when he's a bad ass. #fact


PS - 96 more to go.

Mike R 617

I could have sworn that exact line was in an Al Pacino movie first

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