Hailing from a range of industries, with backgrounds ranging across trade, sport, law, government and engineering, between them the judges of this year’s British Business Awards (BBA) certainly have the breadth of knowledge and experience to assess what is sure to be a tightly contested field. Moreover, a number of the judges are BBA winners themselves—Steve Crane, for example, has collected three separate awards over the years.
With this year’s BBA taking DRIVE as its theme, they will need to discern which members and firms of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) best exemplify progress and determination, as well as show themselves to be a driving force for best practice in employee engagement, stakeholder motivation, as well as diversity and inclusion in the Japan or UK market. And, with the nominations currently flowing into the BCCJ office yet again being of an extremely high standard, the decision making will be one of the biggest challenges, as the judges themselves admit.
As nominations will close on 30 October, there is still the chance to highlight the achievements and contributions of BCCJ members and firms over the past 12 months. The six BBA categories are: Company of the Year; Entrepreneur of the Year; UK–Japan Partnership; Community Contribution; Innovation; and Person of the Year.
Winners receive marble trophies designed and hand-sculpted by Kate Thompson of Ukishima Sculpture Studios. And the awards will be presented by British Ambassador Tim Hitchens CMG LVO in his final BBA as the UK’s top representative in Japan.
As the BBA judges get ready for the task, BCCJ ACUMEN asked them five questions:
- What will you be looking for in nominations?
- What advice can you give nominees about presenting?
- What lessons will you apply from your own career when assessing candidates?
- Which three words would you use to describe the ideal candidates?
- What do you anticipate will be the hardest part of this task?
England national rugby union team
- In a word, integrity.
- Back yourself and know your strengths.
- Throughout my career there have been times where I have had to reflect and learn from failures. This is something that I will be looking for in nominees.
- Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, engaging.
- I expect the high level of contestants will make choosing a winner particularly challenging.
- It is not easy to define companies, organisations or individuals from what they have accomplished in just a year, but I think that as 2016 has been a year of dramatic change and unexpected historical events, I would like to focus on those who have embraced change and contributed to getting positive outcomes from that change.
- Be concise and accurate, but also state a vision for the future, if possible.
- Business realities and priorities change over time, and therefore organisations and individuals must adapt, too. However, fundamental principles such as operating with integrity, honesty and empathy do not. When assessing achievements in 2016, I will apply these principles and look for a consistency in approach.
- Change maker. Do-er (not say-er). Humility.
- I expect there to be many amazing candidates in all categories, so it is not going to be easy to pick a winner, I’m sure. But I’m certainly looking forward to it!
- I will be looking for proof of DRIVE and advancement or improvement in every aspect.
- Although not especially difficult, the amount of nomination text should nonetheless fit in the given boxes without the need for much scrolling.
- Apart from what is presented on the nomination form, I will try to find out what I can about the candidates’ positive reputations.
- Innovative, sustainable, influential.
- The fact that the scoring has to be done without looking into the eyes of the candidates.
Minister-Counsellor for Economic Affairs, Strategy and Communications
British Embassy Tokyo
- I’ll be looking for a nomination which tells a story, which has tangible results and which bristles with enthusiasm and energy.
- Tell me a story. Make it interesting. Make me care about your success and make me want you to be successful.
- I’m not sure if it’s a lesson, but I’ll be looking for candidates who didn’t take the obvious path or make the easy choice. I’ve found that success comes through building strong relationships with others, so I will be looking to hear from candidates who have done that. And finally, early on I decided that I wanted to do a job that I couldn’t believe someone was paying me to do. I’ve pretty much managed that ever since then, and will be looking for candidates who’ve got a similar passion for whatever they do.
- Outcome-focused, enthusiastic and energetic.
- I suspect all the judges will say that they think the hardest part will be choosing between some really high quality submissions, and of course this is absolutely going to be the hardest part. However, just to nuance that a bit, I think the hardest thing will be comparing submissions that are equally impressive, but very different in terms of journey and outcome.
BusinessLink Japan and Export to Japan
- Uniqueness, a compelling example of an organisation or individual going way beyond the norm to achieve something (related to the specific award they are in contention for).
- Tell a story, draw me in, get me hooked.
- To be open minded, to consider deeply, to seek out the good in all that is presented.
- Outstanding, determined, committed.
- Only having six winners, I anticipate a high proportion of the nominations will deserve to win, so trying to identify the eventual winners will be a huge challenge.