Glamorous actress, golden envelope, the audience all household names. She opens the envelope, pauses dramatically…
“And the winner is…”
Well not quite. But in the real world the rest of us inhabit the TAB Member Awards at Oulton Hall were close enough. And as I hinted last week, three of the four awards were won by board members from TAB York – and I am absolutely delighted for them.
In fact, I’m more than delighted. All the parents reading this blog will know exactly what I mean: you’d far rather see your children win something than win an award yourself. My business is just the same: I have in the past won TAB Bod of the Year. And that was lovely – but nowhere near as lovely as seeing my members collect richly deserved awards.
So without further delay, the roll of honour:
To them – and to several other York members who came damn close – congratulations.
So that’s nice. Chris, Simon and Rachel marched up and received their awards, shook hands, sat down and hopefully will be in the running again next year. But back to work the next day, folks – awards are nice, but they don’t change the fundamentals of your business. Or do they?
I was talking to Rachel after the ceremony. Not immediately afterwards, when the euphoria of winning was still rushing round her bloodstream, but a few days afterwards – when problems with clients and suppliers had brought her back to earth.
I don’t think I’m giving away too many confidences if I say that one of the reasons for Rachel winning her award was that she’d had to make a very big – and very difficult – business decision during the past year. “I sat in this office and agonised about that decision,” Rachel said. “Then I went home and agonised some more. And the next day I came to the office and started agonising again.”
Everyone who runs a business can empathise with that. If you’re self-employed, if you’re running a business, then you’re never alone. If you’ve a major problem in the business, it’s with you wherever you go.
Fortunately, if you’re a member of a TAB Board, you don’t have to deal with the problem alone. “The other members of my board were great,” Rachel said. “That is, they asked me the questions I didn’t want asking but knew I had to answer. I remember one question in particular: it pinpointed the exact problem I had to solve.”
Rachel worked through the difficult decision and her business has moved forward significantly. Hence the award, now sitting proudly on the window sill in her office.
“You know the best thing about that award?” Rachel said. “It means someone else noticed. Someone else recognised what I had to do. And that recognition feels astonishingly good. I’m proud of myself – and it’s helped my team see what we’ve achieved as a business.”
And that’s why awards matter. This blog has often touched on ‘the lonely entrepreneur.’ Sooner or later difficult decisions have to be taken and when that happens the buck stops resolutely and defiantly on your desk. Sometimes you can feel very alone.
But an award like Rachel’s says that other people did notice: that they’re impressed by what you did and that you deserve the recognition.
So if you’ve the chance of an award in your industry – go for it. Yes, you might have to spend some time on a submission, telling the judges what you’ve done and why you deserve the award. But it will be time well spent.
As Chris, Simon and Rachel will tell you, there’s no better feeling than hearing your name announced – immediately after, “And the winner is…”