Most entries don’t win so what is the point of taking part?

Most businesses do not plan to enter relevant awards. More often than not, it is an opportunistic decision that results in poor resourcing, limited time and ultimately a submission that really does not reflect the brilliance of the project or the organisation. More’s the pity, awards are more than ego-stroking exercises and most miss the point.

The first question to ask is what is the value of entering awards?

The value of winning or even becoming a finalist from a business perspective has been addressed by many. It is agreed that winning or becoming a finalist provides some valuable opportunities such as: –

• A unique way to demonstrate expertise.
• A cost-effective means to promote the organisation through marketing and public relations initiatives.
• Contribute to future reputation or financial success by improving the organisations standing.
• It can open doors to various opportunities.
• Improves credibility.
• Can assist to boost staff morale which may contribute to staff retention.
• Attract the talent needed to push your business forward.

That is all very nice if you win or become a finalist but what is the value when you do not.

The journey of preparing the submission

I have worked with many organisations on preparing awards submissions and I have found that the greatest benefit to the organisation is the journey of preparing the submission.

It can be a great team-building exercise. It points out to those who are stuck in the day to day rut of getting the job done that ‘hey we are doing something special’ or ‘we have achieved things that should make us proud’. It gets employees to examine what they have done and what they have achieved.

More importantly, it provides a moment to take a look, analyse and evaluate. In some ways, it provides a benchmarking process. The entry process may even provide a way of reviewing the project from a fresh perspective. All value-adding to your future business and understanding what skills have been developed.

Team effort makes a difference

The most successful entries, I have assisted with, usually combine a team effort. Utilising the expertise of the most suitable people in the organisation, especially those that actually took part. An obvious comment, but it is surprising how many organisations hand the job over to the poor marketing department or engage an external copywriter. These people, though very skilled in their fields, have little actual understanding of the intricacies of the initiative. Most importantly, they lack the passion or the understanding of the effort involved to make it come alive in the submission. They should be included as part of the team as their insight and skills will be invaluable.

It is amazing when the various people involved are brought together to discuss the project from the perspective of entering an award what interesting information flows, what experiences are shared and for many it becomes a new and valuable learning process.

Whilst winning an award should always be the ultimate aim of entering. There are many benefits along the way that should not be overlooked.

By Izabella Kobylanski, Principal, Planning Results

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As featured in Social Change Central