The one with the golden envelope

If you watched this week’s Academy Awards the host, Billy Crystal, in his opening monologue said something along the lines of “because that’s what people want to see, millionaires presenting each other with gold statues”. To a certain extent he’s right, because if the claims are to be believed over 1 billion people watch the Oscars show. In a similar vein, the Brits were dished out last week and Adele’s sign language apart, it was largely an exercise in inviting to perform all the people who would later pick up the little statues and give the gushing speech.

Like them or hate them the Oscars and the Brits are both examples of award shows that make sense to me. Not that they are necessary but they do make sense – get more exposure through a nationally/internationally televised event which translates to more downloads/units shifted/bums on seats. And let’s face it, all the back patting and air kissing aside, that’s what it’s all about – shifting more units.

When it comes to niche awards within an industry or profession – and HR has them and is by no means the only profession that does, the awards make no sense to me. So many of you will have attended one – rock up at swanky central London venue, drink, listen to over paid comedian churn out stock material, listen to 19 awards being presented with citations but no speeches, drink more. Stagger into the office the following morning, looking green and claiming “lots of good networking”

It seems to me (a caveat in itself) that what you are effectively winning is ‘the best of the 8 or so companies who have entered as judged by a small group of people chosen by the organiser’. It doesn’t include all eligible companies/individuals, it’s not exhaustive and is very subjective. The beneficiary? Clearly the organiser and the venue (buy a table of 10, surround it with people in their finery who buy wine etc) but I don’t see the benefit for the individual or organisation.

OK so I’m not completely stupid (all the time) I understand that external validation of one’s work can be a benefit in demonstrating achievement internally and also who doesn’t like a good night out with your colleagues? But in terms of shifting more units – I don’t see the link? Does winning an award make your programme/strategy more successful internally? Does returning to the office clutching some form of gong unlock fortune and glory? Anyone??

There’s a joke I was told some years ago about a man who week after week prays to win the lottery and every week he fails and finally he screams to god that he feels let down and his prayers are not being answered, to which god replies “do me a favour, buy a ticket”. Maybe all of this is simply because I’ve never clutched one of those little gongs myself….

*wanders off to practice acceptance speech


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