I’m lucky enough to have been invited along as a guest to tomorrow night’s Learning Awards hosted by the Learning and Performance Institute. I feel incredibly privileged as I love awards night, not because of the glamour of the posh frocks and dinner jackets (although I do love all that of course) it’s the joy and recognition of good work that tickles me pink.
I have been an entrant, a winner, a loser and a judge of industry awards in my time and when you win (or nowadays when a client wins) it is such a high and such an honour that it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. But it’s not about getting up on stage, collecting a trophy and having your photo taken (although again, obviously that’s all great). It’s about the culmination of months or years of work, it’s about taking something back to your colleagues that gives everyone a pat on the back and makes them feel proud of their work. And as time goes on, it’s about hopefully sharing your story so others can learn from what you’ve done and make a success of what they’re doing.
Some might not be so keen on awards as a concept, and indeed as the parent of a one year old I have been doing a lot of reading about the benefits of praising effort rather than achievement. And there is doubtless a lot of great work out there that goes unsung. Probably because when learning projects start, I don’t know of anyone that says ‘Right, this is going to be an award winning project’. But what most people *do* do at the outset is set out to deliver something that makes a difference. And if retrospectively when something has been a success, what better way of thanking everyone involved and acknowledging the contribution of your colleagues, partners, suppliers and stakeholders than gaining industry-wide recognition?
More than that though, I believe it’s important to share best practice and understand what leads to the success of certain projects, initiatives and individuals. I have learned so much over the years from listening to and reading about award winning projects and what has made them fly. It is inspiring. And what I love is that a small organisation can look at the achievements of a larger one and think ‘Well I don’t have their budget, but I could replicate X, Y or Z part of what they did’. Then go on to break through their own performance barriers. Also one of the nice aspects of the awards in recent years has been more new categories that recognise the changing face of L&D and the learning professional to encompass areas like live online learning and social learning. And it is in sharing best practice that we can continue to evolve and improve.
New winners and new stories will emerge at The Dorchester this week and I for one, can’t wait to hear all about them.