It seems like a good time
to dust off our story decrying the overabundance of awards in the
air cargo business at nearly every turn.
Now in Spring 2019, like a rite of event
passage in air cargo, as the awards go from selective to an outright bonanza,
what is the net positive effect of awards upon the industry?
Creating a blizzard of awards for airlines,
forwarders, airports, and people as baseline activity at almost every
organized event in air cargo, big and small, we think, has an overall
net effect of diminishing the meaning and importance of the honors.
Awards have become such a ubiquitous feature
of closing banquets that we are now seeing candidate advertisements that
not only campaign at getting, but also trumpet sponsoring of award categories.
What happens to these awards after they
are given out?
Many of these trade show and publication
awards are piled into a corner, line office walls, or are stacked into
display cases like rush hour commuters in the New York City subway.
WHAT MAKES A WINNER
Air Cargo awards feature scores of “winners,”
but the drivers that bring these honors are less clear.
What makes a winner?
Is it attendance, advertising, stacking
votes, sheer luck, or (god forbid) pure talent that merit all the huzzah
No doubt, recognition of a company has a
rallying affect amongst team members and employees that is rather wonderful,
None of this is to say, that air cargo industry
people are not hard working and deserving of recognition for excellence
in a career, ideas and jobs well done, and other measureable achievements.
SPREAD THE WEALTH
But how many trophies can be handed out
until the cup runneth over?
In 2019, some big corporations, not necessarily
in the cargo business, are waving huge cash money around, and handing
out what amounts to a fortune, to one innovative person or company seems
all the more incredible.
If the idea is to award and attract more
new thinking and people into air cargo, why not forgo the game show, free
for all “strike it rich” format? Why not get deep dish into
new thinking by awarding recognition across a wider spectrum to several
innovators and smart thinkers?
The idea, we think, is to up the quality
and advocacy for legitimate, nonpartisan recognition that extends the
awards, as not only a viable enterprise, but also an educational benefit
for everybody in transportation.
FIATA, for example, features a program called
Young International Freight Forwarders Award (YIFFA) that yearly recognizes
several winners chosen from papers submitted on various aspects of the
freight forwarding business.
The YIFFA award, in addition to recognizing
an individual and region, rewards everybody by publishing the study the
winner submitted, for all to read.
Additionally, the YIFFA Award includes advanced
training in the transportation arts that can also include on the job experience
in an actual live company situation.
In 2018 when we asked some people who attended
Air Cargo Europe in 2017 at Munich, “Who won airline of that year?”
all we received were blank looks.
The same non-responses held when we queried
folks about what were the names of the usual suspects that won in the
THE BOW TIE PARTY IS BACK
In 2018, industry attention to award events
appeared to slide just a little bit?
An organization that had held grand bow
tie party soirees forever, actually dropped the format altogether for
a year, then for 2019 apparently reworked the format and in the search
for more money, was back.
EVERYBODY IS A WINNER
One enterprising publisher that hands out
awards all over the place has come up with wording that looks and sounds
like everybody is a winner.
The winner is of course the winner, but
the second-place finisher that used be the loser is now “highly
acclaimed”, suggesting in a positive sense the gap between winners
and losers has narrowed, if not the spend to reach those heights.
THE LAST WORD
François Ozon, one of France’s
most prolific director/screenwriters, has noted, “awards are like
hemorrhoids, sooner or later every asshole gets one.”
Billy Wilder, the great director of “Some
Like It Hot” oft repeated that quote adding:
audience is never wrong.
individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles together
in the dark - that is critical genius.”