What judges are looking for
In any award, the judges will be looking for evidence of how you lead the field and innovate to improve. They want to know what business obstacles and industry challenges you have confronted and how you overcame them. They’ll be looking to see how you shape events, anticipate problems and identify opportunities rather than simply reacting to the market. They want examples of vision and strategic thinking. If you give the impression that success just fell into your lap, you won’t score highly. We have also identified two key trends recently:
- Judges expect to see entrepreneurs and business leaders working all hours but they want to know that staff are not being pushed to keep up the same pace. Rather, judges will be seeking proof that employees are looked after, nurtured and developed.
- Smart organisations are turning CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to their advantage and judges will want to see how you do the same; it is not enough simply to have a CSR programme, it must be leveraged to bring demonstrable benefits to your bottom line and public image. Similarly, successful entrepreneurs and business leaders are increasingly expected to ‘give back’ in some way – perhaps through community or charity initiatives – rather than spending their wealth solely on themselves.
Not all awards programmes require finalists to make a presentation or be interviewed by judges, but here is some insider advice for when they do:
• Make sure everyone in the room has a relevant contribution to make – no “eye candy”, as one judge told us
• Leave your prompt cards back in the office – you should know your business inside out
• Keep strictly within your allocated slot – you’ll be marked down for eating into other entrants’ time
If you think all this is a tall order, it is! That is why seeking the help of experts in choosing the right awards and writing your entry pays dividends.