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The Power of Recognition

IAEE President and CEO David DuBois explores the motivating power behind recognizing those who go above and beyond to contribute to the industry.

Editorial Note: Originally published in the August 2023 issue of Trade Show Executive magazine.

In today’s fast-paced work environment, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of completing our everyday tasks. However, recognizing our colleagues’ contributions plays a pivotal role in fostering a positive and productive work environment. Appreciating and acknowledging the efforts of our fellow professionals not only boosts morale but also fuels individual and industry-wide success.

Recognition is a powerful motivator; acknowledging the hard work and achievements of our colleagues not only validates their efforts but also inspires them to maintain their high level of performance. Feeling valued and appreciated in the workplace leads to increased job satisfaction and employee morale. When colleagues are appreciated and recognized for their contributions, it creates a positive environment in which they feel motivated to go the extra mile. By aspiring to be recognized for their contributions, individuals push themselves to develop new skills, seek innovative solutions and constantly raise the bar.

Recognizing colleagues’ contributions also promotes a sense of collaboration and teamwork within the industry. When we appreciate the unique skills and expertise of our peers, it encourages knowledge-sharing and builds a supportive community. By acknowledging each other’s contributions, we cultivate an industry in which professionals feel comfortable sharing ideas and collaborating on projects, leading to innovative solutions and increased collective success. It also creates lasting bonds and strengthens professional relationships because recognizing someone’s contributions solidifies mutual respect and builds trust among colleagues.

This collective pursuit of improvement drives industry-wide success and enables professionals to stay ahead in an ever-evolving industry. Celebrating the success and contributions of our industry’s superstars raises its profile among other industries, and portrays it as a thriving and supportive community. In terms of workforce development, this positive image attracts fresh talent – an especially important call to action for exhibitions and events, especially now. By establishing a reputation for excellence, we increase our odds of finding the kind of team members that strive to achieve their own excellence. A win/win for all!

So how do we go about recognizing our colleagues?

Aside from in-house recognition programs, organization leaders should encourage their teams to take the time to recognize each other’s efforts and contributions across the industry. A great example of this is the IAEE Awards program. With 12 categories recognizing achievements across the various focus areas within our specific industry, there is plenty of room to recognize our colleagues’ accomplishments. This includes those of young professionals starting to make their mark, to those of industry veterans who have devoted their career to advancing exhibitions and events. Other industry organizations offer similar programs, so there’s a broad bandwidth for rewarding a job well done.

It is incredibly satisfying as an executive leader to see the camaraderie and genuine appreciation that comes with awarding and receiving one of these honors. Many of the IAEE Young Professional of the Year Award recipients have ascended to become top industry leaders. Even industry veterans accustomed to receiving praise deeply appreciate the Pinnacle and Distinguished Service Awards because the recognition comes from the people who matter most – our respected peers.

The next time you find yourself proudly sharing team members’ accomplishments or congratulating a colleague on an outstanding initiative that benefits the entire industry, ask yourself, is there a more significant way to express how great this work is? As we lift each other up, we lift the entire industry up. And if there is one thing I have always loved about this industry, it’s how incredibly supportive we are of each other.

David DuBois, CMP Fellow, CAE, FASAE, CTA
IAEE President & CEO
Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance Co-President

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