Help Your Professionals Stand Out from the Crowd in Awards Competitions
With the 98th rendition of the Miss America Pageant, the country’s oldest and most renowned individual talent/interview competition squarely in the minds of fans across the nation, it would seem a fitting time to consider what lessons might be drawn to help position your healthcare organization’s candidates for success in regional business and community awards competitions.
Why Enter Awards Programs?
Business or community recognition programs are more than just beauty or popularity contests. They are an opportunity to showcase your best people or the most positive attributes of your organization.
The payoff should be obvious. The individuals chosen to represent your organization will be honored that they are held in such high esteem. And the positive contributions that they have made will reflect well on your organization as well as their own professional reputations.
Presented in the public eye, their nominations – and the positive stories that support those nominations (it’s all about story!) can help distinguish your organization in the eyes of consumers and the general public and burnish your brand as a friend of the local community.
One of the first things you will want to do is take an inventory of the potential “recognition awards” to consider shooting for. As noted, regional business media are frequent sponsors of such programs. (They help attract advertising dollars and interest in the stories that emanate from the programs, while also opening avenues for future sponsorships, story ideas and business contacts.)
Naturally, it will be necessary to review and assess how closely the individual recognition award opportunities correspond to your oroganization’s interests and strategic goals.
Some of the categories that we’ve helped clients pursue include:
- Fastest Growing Company
- Best Places to Work
- Physician of the Year
- Nurse of the Year
- Healthcare Innovators
- Women of Distinction
- Social Worker of the Year
- Employee of the Year
- Faces of Philanthropy
- Minority Business Leaders
- Most Admired CEOs
And many more….
Doing Your Homework
After you’ve made your selections as to which awards programs to target, you will want to pay close attention to the specific requirements and information that the sponsor will be using to choose from among nominees.
For example, if you’re nominating an individual for a specific award, there may be an area requesting details about their participation in charitable or community activities. Even if your nominee is an outstanding professional in his or her line of work, a lack of a sufficient record of community involvement can doom the nomination.
(An old political saw holds true here – your candidate may look great from an existential perspective, but once they are up against an actual opponent, those original perspectives can be tossed out the window.)
Study the questions. Then look beyond them. Try to figure out why that specific information is being requested. Is there an apparent agenda underlying the questions that are being asked, or in the way they’re asked? Try to work out the puzzle, if it presents itself: This is what they’re asking, but what is it they’re really looking for?
What kind of story do they want to hear?
Research, Interview, Repeat
If you’re nominating an individual for a recognition award, you will want to take the time to interview them so that you can garner the information you need to fill out the nomination form. Get the facts. But not just the facts. Try to discover what motivates them to do what they do. See if you can create a personal story to supplement and animate the basic facts that are being requested. What drives them? What makes them unique? Why are they so good at what they do?
You might also interview people they work with, as well as patients, if appropriate (be careful about divulging inappropriate patient data, however). It’s not unlike writing a movie or TV script. The goal isn’t just to tell your audience why your nominee is a remarkable person. You should try to show them by showcasing the actions, motiviations and relationships that encourage them to excel.
The same idea holds true if you are describing, for example, why your organization should be considered among the “fastest growing” in your region. The numbers, of course, will be crucial. You will need to check with your accounting or financial experts in order verify quarterly or year-over-year results, for example. But again, the story of why the organization was able to grow so fast is likely to be key.
What is it about the CEO/President’s background and vision that made success possible? Is there something in their personal biography that set them on this path to success? What kind of goals have they set? What’s his or her secret sauce?
It’s All About the Story
It can be easy to look at business and community awards/recognition programs as being dry, data-driven, form-based efforts.
They can seem very mechanical. But in reality, they serve as opportunities to build your success stories – either that of the organization itself, or the stories of the gifted representatives who are part of your team.
Even if you don’t win, you’ll still have stories to share with your supporters in the community and in your healthcare organization – and, of course, in the larger world of social media.
If done well, in the long run, your organization and your nominees are sure to come out winners – no matter where they end up in the final award standings.