SumTotal Blog

And the award goes to… you!

March 3, 2014



Oscar producers went with a more traditional approach for the show last night. And while it lacked some of the entertainingly awkward moments from last year, with the exception of Jennifer Lawrence stumbling for the second time, I found it hard not to get caught up in all of the excitement as I kicked back on my couch to watch it.

When Lupita Nyong’o gave her heartfelt acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress and later Bette Midler sang “Wind Beneath My Wings,” I admit it, I got a little choked up. But, I also smiled as the married songwriters and Best Original Song winners rhymed their way through their thank yous, and laughed at Ellen’s epic selfie, which apparently crashed Twitter.

Most of us will never experience the pageantry of the Oscars, but beneath all of the glitz and glamour, the Academy Awards really boil down to one thing – peer recognition for a job well done. And that’s something that we all can and should go after for our customers, our organizations and ourselves.

Here at SumTotal, we’ve placed a bigger emphasis on that recently, and it’s paid off.

Best Original Screenplay: Customer Kudos
In April we launched our first Innovation Awards program and honored 20 customers, including our winners McAfee, Univar, Praxair, Duke Energy, Lowes and City of Boise, at our TotalConnection customer event. (Check out the photos)

Their creative approaches to Talent Expansion™ deserved recognition, and we were thrilled to give them a platform to showcase their initiatives. They earned acknowledgement for their innovation and other attendees walked away with new ideas. Win, win!

Speaking of which, we’re accepting nominations for the 2014 SumTotal Customer Innovation Awards through August 18. Check out how to apply.

Best Producer: Organizational Success
In the past year, we’ve been honored with more than a dozen awards, including:

That third-party validation, of course, helps the organization in terms of sales and marketing opportunities. But this industry recognition also boosts morale.

I felt a sense of pride with each of these announcements, and as one of the people responsible for sharing them internally, I can tell you that other employees did too. Email replies like these make my day:

“This is so exciting!”
“Can you feel the momentum building?”
“Another reason SumTotal rocks!”

Best Leading Actor/Actress: Individual Accolades
Putting together a winning application is important for personal reasons too. Not only does it feel great, (“I was jumping up and down in my cubicle when I heard our name,” is what one customer emailed after learning they’d won), it’s also an opportunity to get internal recognition for your team’s efforts and is another way to strengthen your personal brand.

Find Your Academy Award
There are dozens of awards programs out there, from industry publications to analyst programs. I encourage you to research them to find ones that fit with what you and your organization are trying to achieve.

Make note of deadlines and application requirements. Mark your calendar with reminders. Then, throughout the year, file away examples of successes to make it easier to build your application. Having solid metrics matters, so be prepared to demonstrate measurable results of your programs.

With preparation and a little luck, you might just walk away with your own “Oscar.” And in the words of Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughney, that would be “All right, all right, all right.”

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