The Triumphs and Challenges of Recognition and Awards

by Onyeka Nchege on October 21, 2014

Decision Choose Change or  Same Old StreetRecently, Apple stores across the world were flooded with patrons waiting to purchase the new iPhone6.  Many will agree that the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 raised the bar in the technology industry and ushered in a wave of innovation.  Apple has not only profited greatly for setting a new industry standard, it has also gained worldwide recognition as being a technological pioneer. 

As wonderful as recognition is, it can also be a challenge to some.  For example, though Apple has once again shattered records for the amount of iPhone 6 pre orders, there are still many who believe Apple hasn’t moved much past the bar they set seven years ago, because they continue to release the same phone with modest additions in each generation.  The amount of patrons who believe that Apple’s innovation has decreased over the years is translated by comparing Apple’s current market share with their competitor’s market share.  Those patrons have started purchasing phones and tablets from other companies who they feel are now raising the bar in the technology industry.  Hence, Apple should now be realizing that with recognition and awards also comes a new set of expectations.

In a more direct manner, we as individuals have opportunities to be recognized in our professional and personal lives often through awards.  Recognition and awards are excellent promotions of you and your capabilities.  They can help to elevate your career to the next platform, and they can allow for you and your talents to be exposed to a broader audience.  However, it must be understood that once you are a recipient of any recognition or awards, you have raised your own bar.  As an example, I recently championed a golf tournament to benefit a scholarship fund.  This year we had a good mixture of new participants and our faithful contributors.  Though everyone participated mainly for the benefit of the scholarship, there was still the motivation of receiving a trophy for placing in the top three.  There was also the motivation for prior trophy winners to beat their score from previous years and to once again go home with a trophy. 

The healthy competition you encounter while striving for recognition is a great motivator in assisting to raise your own bar.  Be mindful that once your bar has been raised and you have received your recognition, the expectations of you will be changed.  I can tell you from my own experience that it is a more rewarding road to travel having embraced this new set of expectations as opposed to seeing them as burdens.  The new set of expectations may increase your workload, apply unwanted pressure or force you to grow into new, initially uncomfortable, positions.  These are not burdens, these are new initiatives.

Your overall determination of success depends on how much you raise your bar.  Also, it is important to remember that though your performance has been beyond exceptional in the past; your past performance does not equal future growth.  Future growth is dependent on managing and meeting the new expectations of you.                                 

Take Action: Are you really growing yourself or repackaging the old to look new?  Understand the new expectations of you and innovate yourself to meet those expectations. 

Leadership on the Go…It’s O.N.

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Onyeka Nchege is the Chief Information Officer for Coca Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC), the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. A frequent speaker on technology empowerment, leadership development, and business improvement, Onyeka is a graduate of the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Onyeka currently serves on the Board of Directors for Apparo, Advisory Board for UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, and Bethel Baptist Church Ministries.

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