October 4, 2011


proud to be a nomineeThe Business Excellence Awards are perhaps the highest honours from the Toronto Board of Trade. Winning would be such an accomplishment. [Update: I lost but of the 49 nominees across 8 categories, I was the sole candidate from financial services.]

You may not be familiar with these awards since there's very little online at present. Nominees can say they've been nominated but there's no public list as proof yet. (If I'm wrong, please leave a comment with a link.)

I'll share what I've learned about the Business Excellence Awards. How would I know? I'm a nominee for Start-up/New Business. The other seven categories are Global Reach, Sustainability, Transition, Under 30, Local Economic Impact, Diversity and Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Process

Here are the steps:
  1. Nominations: complete forms (by Jun 30)
  2. Pre-screening: to confirm eligibility (Jul)
  3. Interviews: two interviewers (by Sep 30)
  4. Finalists informed: three per category (mid-Oct)
  5. Winners announced (Nov gala)
The process looks solid and impartial. For instance, the judges don't meet the nominees. Instead, they get reports from the interviewers. The judges might remain anonymous, which is fine.

The interviews are structured. Each nominee in a category answers the same questions and gets time to tell their story as they wish (e.g., a presentation, a tour of their facilities, etc). The questions are sent in advance to allow time to prepare. Nominees can answer using notes. This step felt friendly — not like a job interview or actuarial exam.

The Quandary

These awards let you nominate yourself. That might be normal but didn't feel quite right. Requiring third party nominations seems better but that's easy to circumvent: you nominate your pal and your pal nominates you (assuming you're in different categories). The current process is probably best and lets "unsung heroes" participate.
No Deluge
The Toronto Board of Trade has some 10,000 members but few likely got nominated. The process takes effort, which eliminates the lazy. Hurray for inertia! Also, there's no point competing unless you're confident you're good enough to win. Hurray for insecurity!

The Winner Is …

I got nominated for a Business Excellence Award in the Start-up/New Business category by someone who's judgment I value. I was touched. We like to think we're worthy of recognition, but we're biased. An outside perspective helps.

Though I was delighted to be nominated, I wanted to tell my story my way. Would you expect any less from a blogger or Toastmaster? I self-nominated. Once I passed the pre-screening, I told someone who ... smirked. The implication was that I wasn't good enough for an outside nomination. I didn't say I had a credible one.

proud to be a nomineeYesterday, I got the graphics. Now, I'm publicly announcing that I'm proud to be a nominee.

Initially, I didn't think that winning would matter. Now I realize it does. The envelope please …


PS If you’re in the GTA, why not attend the gala and see local business excellence?


  1. It doesn't surprise me in the least that you were nominated Promod.

    You were featured in the Toronto Star, your blog has helped many people and in person you are a strategic inspirational dynamo!

    I would nominate you for an award but I already gave you one!

  2. I agree. Winning would be an accomplishment even if a lot people might not be familiar with the award yet. Being a nominee is already an achievement.

    business consultant

  3. I totally agree with you Paul! Its a big privileged already!