STREAMLINING, efficiency, collaboration, cost cutting. This is vocabulary that we’ve all become accustomed to in recent years. Additional familiar (and less positive-sounding) terminology includes downsizing, redundancy, takeovers and closure.
In such turbulent times, it’s understandable that the focus is on survival. Heads are down, teeth are gritted and there’s a crystal clear focus on the priority of remaining in business.
There’s no doubt that many within our business community are continuing to deal with the fall-out of the energy industry downturn. This troubling situation should not be ignored. What we also need to acknowledge, however, is the sterling work that continues to be carried out across a wide range of sectors in the North-east.
This is where initiatives like the Chamber’s Northern Star Business Awards (NSBA) come in. For those of you who are suffering from award scheme fatigue, I urge you to read on. The NSBA are not restricted to one sector, one business discipline or organisations of a certain size or age. The categories have been carefully thought through to allow any Chamber member to enter – from business minnow to blue-chip multinational. The activities of both enrich our economy. Why shouldn’t both of their contributions be marked?
I therefore fully approve of the updates to the 2018 award categories, which are designed to make the scheme as accessible and appealing to all. Organisations large and small, operating across a spectrum of sectors, have the chance to showcase their strengths in terms of marketing, health and safety, customer service, global reach and more. It is important that these successes are celebrated.
This brings me nicely to my next point: supporting others. One of the few positive outcomes of the downturn is that is has encouraged many businesses to connect, who might otherwise never have done so. It has also helped to create an air of solidarity. These welcome trends should be encouraged – and this in part explains XIC’s own motivations for our continued sponsorship of the NSBA scheme. Given our line of work, it’s in our DNA to want local companies to showcase themselves to their best possible advantage.
So, a plea: If a business you know or deal with is shortlisted for an award, help them to celebrate it. Drop them an email, lift the phone, congratulate them on LinkedIn, or share the announcement about their finalist status.
If you’re lucky enough to be invited along to the AECC on September 27, grab the opportunity. Be supportive, be inspired and be proud to be part of a business community that continues to demonstrate star quality in the face of adversity.