By Sara Fleury, Communications Director, Kitchell Corporation

Let’s admit it. There is a heck of a lot of awards programs, but not all are considered equal. It seems every week there’s another best of, top-ranked, most-deserved – the list goes on and on. As organizations it’s hard to know how to be selective and participate in the ones that matter most. There are industry-specific awards and rankings, employee-surveyed contests, business recognitions and straight-up popularity contests.

The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Impact Awards have a history that dates to 1987. That kind of longevity says something about the importance of this particular program and the legacy the Chamber has fostered by producing the awards every year. It is undeniably the most organized and thorough awards program I have ever experienced (and this comes from someone who has spent decades submitting and judging awards). Being on the selection panel this year reinforced how special this program is.

Being named an Impact Awards finalist is not an easy feat.

While “it is an honor to be named a finalist” is a common refrain, in this case the statement rings very, very true. Our panel had a difficult time narrowing the discussion to the top-tier list and a robust discussion about the merits of each finalist. The process made me even more proud of our accomplishment as a past winner.

The successful finalists all had common attributes that stayed with me long after the selection process.

A profound sense of self

Every organization that was part of this process had a deep understanding of its role within the marketplace and the state. They could relate how their organization created value for Arizona and the responsibilities of doing business here.

A passion for Arizona

A great appreciation for our state – a healthy business climate, a welcoming environment, broad talent pool and entrepreneurial atmosphere.

Executive leadership engagement

Our participants had strong executive support and involvement in the interviews. They came across as engaged and empathetic leaders who appreciated the importance of this awards program.

Commitment to shared values

The finalists could easily relay how their company values translated into actions – demonstrating that employees at all levels embraced a shared vision.

A drive to succeed

Organizations didn’t all fit within one bucket – they ranged from young to well-established, and non-profit to Fortune 500. They all had a drive to thrive, maintaining an entrepreneurial and innovative attitude, especially during a year that challenged even the most stable of organizations.

Community engagement

Importantly, the finalists appreciated the importance of giving back to our communities through volunteerism and financial support. They involved employees at all levels in their efforts, and in many situations the employees spearheaded charitable efforts with leadership support.

If you – like I – suffer from awards and rankings burnout, think about being selective. Aspire to participate in the ones that will help your organization improve by learning from those who are truly making an impact. Then do it.

Posted by Annelise Patterson