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September 25, 2006

Awards! Huh! Good God Y'all!

What are they good for?

Several years ago, my association scrapped a bunch of awards they used to give out annually. Recently, there's been an internal request to bring some of them back. I've been tasked with figuring out what to do about it, so I've been thinking about awards a lot.

Now, on the positive side of this debate, I've won a few awards from associations I've belonged to, and I've really enjoyed winning them. If you think about the one-percenters, or the phenomenon I call Horowitz's Law, giving awards to certain key people really makes a lot of sense. It builds up the individuals' loyalty to the association. I'm fiercely loyal to the associations that have given me recognition. I've listed the awards that I've won on my resume and I mention them in my bio. Those are nice little feathers in my cap.

If the awards are given at a meeting, sometimes -- no that's too generous -- on a rare occasion, the winners' acceptance speeches can be one of those transcendent experiences that really bind together the attendees into a meaningful community. If only for the duration of the meeting.

It is also argued that awarding people for achievements compels them to do bigger and better things. If I recall correctly, setting up an association awards program is even part of one of the chapters in one of the core texts for the CAE exam.

I'll continue this tomorrow...

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