I am often asked the question, “What does it take to be an award-winning office?” I think people expect the answer to be simple but if the answer were simple, nothing would separate the good from the great.
Cultivating an award winning team or being an award winning individual is about consistency and doing more than what’s expected.
Sounds easy right, but doing more is extremely challenging when expectations constantly change, which means we need to constantly evolve to stay ahead of the game.
Complacency is the enemy of a winner.
I have been a part of national industry and business awards for over two decades and, having entered dozens of business and individual awards, I have learned a lot about the process and what it takes to create an award-winning submission.
I wanted to be able to share my experience and encourage you to give it a go.
It is not even about the win, it is about the journey of reflection. If nothing else, it’s a fantastic opportunity to appreciate what you have achieved and hopefully (if you go in with the right mindset), it will inspire you to keep pushing yourself to raise the bar.
The process will discourage you from becoming complacent.
So here are my top 5 tips to create an award winning submission:
- Key Performance Indicators/Results
Before you think about entering an awards program, make sure you have recorded your goals and results for the year.
You will usually be required to provide KPIs and proof that you have achieved the results that you claim.
Depending on the category, you should track all income-producing results and demonstrate how the results have contributed to the ongoing success of the organisation.
If you are entering a business/organisation award, you should also have clear budgets and regular tracking of the financial performance of the business.
The judges need to see that you have best practice processes in place to manage risk and cash flow.
How easily can you adapt to changing market conditions based on your structure? If you don’t understand your business deeply it is likely that you don’t have control over the numbers that matter.
- Social Proof & Survey Results
I firmly believe that one of the main points of our winning submissions and the thing that really sets our business apart from our competition, is the evidence we provided to support our service standards.
It’s not what we say, it’s what our clients say that counts.
We include in our submissions: annual client and customer survey results, Net Promoter Scores (clients and customers), benchmarks and also recent online ratings and testimonials.
Most entrants will claim that they provide great customer service, but do you have the proof?
- Culture & Collaboration
Regardless of the category, articulate how you contribute to a positive team culture and what you bring to the table.
What are you doing that nobody else has even considered? For your submission to stand out, you must be a stand out.
Successful people are those who understand that, as individuals, we are limited, we need the right people around us to achieve at a high level.
We need a team of likeminded winners.
Think about how you influence, support and lead the people around you? If you were to ask your colleagues to support your submission with a testimonial, would they? And what would they say?
- Stay Humble
Nobody enjoys the company of a self-absorbed bragger. People who are so full of their own self-importance, they can’t see anything that goes on around them, they have selfish motives.
Be mindful not to come across as that person.
It is perfectly okay to share results and personal achievements, just don’t forget who you are, where you came from and why.
People want to hear your story, the reason why you do what you do.
When you prepare your submission, don’t leave out the WHAT, WHERE, WHY and WHO.
Humility will make you more relatable. It is really important that the judges like who you are and what you stand for, after all, they are putting you on a pedestal as the example for others in the industry to follow.
A very important element of most submissions is how you or your organisation contribute to the community.
As a person or business of influence, what are you doing to give back?
Being engaged with your local community is not only essential for a winning submission, you have a moral obligation to serve your community; after all, they are the people who leveraged your success.
I know I said I would only give you my five tips… but I do like to under promise and over deliver, so here’s a value add:
- Show your personality
When you prepare a submission, if there is an opportunity to attach supporting documents or a video, do it! Include a short video or some images of you or your team to show off your personality.
Demonstrate the culture and the personality behind your brand, who are you and what are you trying to say?
When the judges read your submission, they need to feel something, it’s really no different to winning business (signing up a new client); they need to like you, before they will choose you.