Win as a Team

One of my responsibilities as president of my local builders’ association this year was to present the Awards of Excellence to the winners in each category. In early June, our evening’s gala hosted more than 250 people, many of whom were finalists, as well as their business associates and friends. When the winners were called to the podium to collect their plaques and have their photos taken, I was surprised to see how often two or more people came up to claim the prize.

We need to realize the importance of sharing the recognition for winning an award because without valuable employees these awards would be unachievable. Countless surveys of employee satisfaction have revealed that recognition for a job well done is more important to job satisfaction than many other factors, including bonuses and raises. Consider this the next time you decide to compete for an industry award.

First, make your company personnel aware of your intent to enter a contest. Let them be involved in the application process.

If you are submitting photographs of your completed project, invite them to support your efforts by preparing the home for the photographer. If there are essays involved, ask key employees to help write the essays or have them review your rough draft before you submit your entry.

Invite those involved in the category to the awards ceremony. Buy enough tickets so that all who are involved can be seated at the same table. If your company is fortunate enough to be the winner of an award, be sure to let the appropriate employees share in the limelight with you. Include them in the award-recipient photograph and purchase extra award plaques so they can hang in their own office space.

Four years ago, I entered my company in this magazine’s contest for being recognized as one of the leading design/build firms in the nation. There were six essay questions to which I wrote answers and then had my key employees review. We all felt a sense of pride and achievement when we were told we were one of the winners. A few months later, I received a call from Rob Heselbarth, editor, who asked me to write monthly columns for the magazine. This was certainly an unexpected reward from entering the contest.

I have enjoyed many benefits from the opportunity to share my ideas with a national audience, including but not limited to national speaking engagements, consulting for industry peers and enhanced credibility with prospective clients. All of this started with an award application.

If you are fortunate to win a contest and your employees have joined you for the event, you have an opportunity to build company unity and pride in what you created. Even if they are not present, it is invaluable to their sense of commitment and satisfaction in working for a winning company to which they contribute.

Receiving the award is just the start of the benefits. You have a plaque or trophy to display in your office combined with the personal satisfaction of knowing that industry experts judged your work to be worthy of recognition. You should update the section on your website that is titled “Awards.” Send a press release to publications, including your local and regional newspaper, as well as the high school and college alumni newsletter. Consider sending an e-mail blast to your local realtors, past clients, family and friends. You never know who will mention your company’s work that may lead to another custom job!