Awards season is upon us. Next month, this very magazine will present its Most Influential People in Security. Later in September of this year, at GSX in Orlando, U.S. security managers, consultants, officers, manufacturers and others will learn whether OSPA's judges have tapped them for an Outstanding Security Performance Award. ASIS will bestow a plethora of plaques and plaudits upon its most beneficent members during that same week, just as the Security Industry Association did with its members in July. Also in July, IFSEC announced its most influential global leaders in security and fire among several categories — including thought leaders, end users, executives, cybersecurity professionals, and so on — for the first time selecting an overall most influential among the various categories.
And don’t forget the Security Vanguard Awards, the British Security Awards, the Australian Security Awards, and countless cybersecurity extravaganzas.
Hollywood ain’t got nothing on the security profession.
And that’s not a bad thing.
Let me explain. The motion picture, television and music industries get lambasted for self-importance, heaping honors on an elite cadre of luminaries in a series of opulent events. But most of the award recipients have already received widespread acclaim as measured by box office grosses, Internet downloads, Nielsen ratings and other objective criteria.
Society already reveres its actors, singers, directors, musicians and producers, but it doesn’t notice security until something goes wrong or someone needs help. If any profession deserves to congratulate itself, even if few outsiders notice, it’s security. Awards are a collective thank you and acknowledgement of a job well done — a job that often comes with more emotional reward than financial compensation.
For the past few years, I’ve nominated several of my security colleagues who have done outstanding work out of public view. It’s been immensely rewarding when they win, but just as much so when I click the “submit” button on the entry form.
We all understand the power of praise, recognition and reward. Gallup data strongly correlate praise and recognition with increased productivity, engagement, loyalty and tenure. Praise doesn’t get any higher than nominating a direct report, colleague, partner or associate for a high-profile award.
Some people scoff at these awards as examples of logrolling or power-brokering. Where that criticism rings true is when the nominee and judge pools stay the same year after year. No one wants to drink out of a fountain that continuously recycles the same water. But there’s a better way than criticizing the process and the results: Improve them. That’s what a leader does.
Trumpet the best professionals, teams, initiatives, solutions and technologies you know. In such a quickly changing environment, talented new faces emerge every year. Nominate them. Trust me, it’s remarkably gratifying to bring the world notice of a deserving colleague. It can be even better if they don’t know that you put their name in the hat. Just check beforehand that they don’t mind being nominated.
Now, pardon me as I eagerly await news about some incredible security professionals.