"And the winner is....": Claire Kennedy on the 2018 Awards season

posted 18 April 2018

It is Awards season in our world at the moment. Our team is currently shortlisted for Management Consultancy Association Awards in Ethical Behaviour and Public Sector Change Management. We are also shortlisted for HSJ Value Awards, for the MJ Awards and have already this year been finalists in the ICIPS Awards and the PEN Awards, both for improving patient experience of services. It is genuinely quite moving to take a step back as part of the process of entering the awards, and to reflect on the work we do, the impact it delivers for patients and service users, and the way in which we do it. We have a really strong organisational culture, with a focus on a co-operative team working collectively to deliver some really impressive and complex results, and it is always pleasing to see that recognised.

As a leader, I nevertheless have always had an ambivalent relationship with Awards. In my role at PPL, I see all the work we do and how our teams are doing it. I see teams that often have to push the extra, unglamorous mile, to deliver something that, under other circumstances, would have been relatively simple and unimpressive. It is rare that those kinds of efforts end up being recognised through awards but, experience has taught me, the deepest groundwork is often the most precious part of delivering real change.

Which brings me to the awards. I have two daughters and they have an annual Prizegiving at their school – it is a great training ground in what prizes mean, and in what they don’t mean: in what they can tell us, and in what they can’t.  Each year, before the ceremony, I ask them to reflect on what they have achieved in the year; what they are proudest of. We talk through what they have achieve this year, and what they would like to do even better next year.  They may or may not win a prize, but what they can see is that they have made real progress and had real achievements in the previous year, often uniquely their own. The prize itself is a badge that may or may not come to them; the achievement is theirs to keep.

Everyone loves winning prizes, but I tend to treat Awards ceremonies in the same way. I am incredibly proud of all our work, whether or not it has been shortlisted for an award.  The sense of pride and purpose we get from delivering real results in partnership with our clients is something I never take for granted. The chance to share that story as widely as possible is the thing I like best about Awards season, and the chance to learn more about what colleagues are doing in other areas. The more we share and learn from each other; the better results we will deliver. No-one has all the answers – winning any prize is a stage in the journey but it is a bonus above and beyond the real reward - which is knowing that we are doing the right work in the right way and really making a difference.

PPL is currently shortlisted for two MCA Awards (for Consulting Excellence: Ethical Behaviour and Public Sector: Change Management); the Health Service Journal Value Award for Training and Development; and the Municipal Journal Award for Care and Health Integration (with our friends and colleagues at Innovation Unit)

***UPDATE*** We were delighted to win the MCA Consulting Excellence Award 2018 for ethical behaviour. Congratulations to all of the winners.