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Friday, November 18, 2016

Two Cowboys: Discovering the Role of Business Awards with Westpac Auckland Business Excellence Awards 2016, NZ


According to evolutionary theory, competition within and between species for resources is important in natural selection. Life is about competition.

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People compete. Businesses compete. Regions compete with regions and countries with countries. Without competition, we won't be where we are today as a civilisation and an economy. Competition is good. It favours the agile, enterprising, and resilient members of society. The strong thrive by continually adapting and adjusting.

We are talking about all kinds of competition. Not just the "fair" and "just" competitions. The rules are not always clear or referenceable. A large part of persevering in the heat of battle is knowing which rules favour survival and prosperity, and which do not.

The "favouring" rules serve as catalysts for renewal and growth. The rules against competition contribute to the softening of a population, making it inflexible and complacent. Such a population is one step away from demise. Without the stronger members of our society persevering and growing through competition and sharing the value of their success, the survival of life as we know it may be at risk.

Here are a few benefits of competition in business:
  • Competition makes customer service better. If more businesses are after the same customers' spend, then customers benefit from increased focus on their needs, better pricing and more attention.
  • It forces innovation. With more business going after the same reward there is an incentive to find better, faster and cheaper ways to deliver to customer expectations.
  • Competition exposes strengths and weaknesses. With this self-knowledge, businesses have the opportunity to improve and grow.
  • Competition opens up new opportunities and forces learning. New products and services are invented. New markets are discovered and opened thanks to the need of business to survive and grow. 

Everything businesses do every day against the constant backdrop of being in competition. By being in this mode, they often don't have a chance to take time out to reflect. The annual Westpac Business Excellence Awards provides a valuable opportunity to New Zealand businesses. It celebrates business success in New Zealand countrywide. It is also an opportunity for the competing business to learn, reflect and validate themselves with others.

11 Weeks of Focus

The Two Cowboys & A Camera took 11 weeks out this year to interview more than 180 people from more than 148 finalists, sponsors and judges, for the 4 Auckland regional award events. Just saying it is a mouth full.

The real work was producing and packaging around 200 small video clips from this content for four high-profile gala events. It is an annual affair. It is a marathon learning experience that allows us to meet and interact with some of Auckland's most progressive businesses. We cherish the opportunity every year.

There were two takeaways this year. Firstly, businesses are relying more and more on social media resources to market and engage with customers. Some industries are adopting faster than others. It is top-of-mind for everyone. The businesses that thrive incorporates video into their strategy.

The second realisation is the rise of the "Social Enterprise". Since the Two Cowboys are on the forefront of making this our contribution to our stakeholders, it was encouraging to see that more and more businesses recognise the capacity they have for investing in social capital or cause as a force in their business strategy. Companies realise that they have a responsibility in their industry and their community that goes beyond shareholder value creation.

Enjoy the video with us about the highlights of this year's awards.

A big thank you to the Auckland Chambers of Commerce for permission to produce and publish this amazing adventure.

Hendrik van Wyk
Competing Cowboys

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