Ron Lynch, Regional Director for the Institute of Directors East Midlands, interrupts his busy schedule to speak to Rachel about the IoD Awards and how they want to encourage people to share their great business stories. An interesting chat, busting some long-believed myths about what the IoD is all about.
Well, good morning. Good morning. It’s Rach here, an award-winning award writer with The Awards People. Now, I’m gonna watch my p’s and q’s a bit today because I’ve got a grown-up with me. I’ve got a suit and booted 00:23 grown-up with me. Erm, I’ve got the Regional Director for the Institute of, of Directors East Midlands with me, er, Mr. Ron Lynch. Thank you.
Fortunately, Ron knows me of old so, er, it’s even more commendable that you’re here [laughs] [indiscernible 00:39].
RL: Despite knowing you.
RH: Despite knowing me. I’m thinking he had a free half-hour in his diary and he wants the coffee, to be honest. But, erm, Ron’s here to talk to us today about, erm, the Institute of Directors’ Director of the Year Awards.
RH: The big boys. One of the big boys of the awards calendar, I think.
RL: Yeah. Absolutely.
RH: Before we get into the detail though, let me give Ron the chance to actually introduce himself properly, tell you a little about what he does and about what the Institute of Directors do in the East Midlands.
RL: So, I’m Ron Lynch. I’m the Regional Director to the Institute of Directors in the East Midlands, and that basically means I’m responsible for everything the IoD does in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, the Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire.
RH: Yeah, not much there. You see, you’ve got plenty, plenty of time.
RL: Plenty of spare time.
RH: Plenty of time.
RL: Yes, absolutely.
RH: And doin’ about, you know, three-and-a-half days, don’t you? Technically? [Laughs]
RL: Something like that.
RH: Ably supported back in the office by the wonderful Sue Charlesworth.
RL: Yeah, and Cari—
RH: And Cari.
RL: – who takes the lead on our awards program.
RH: Ooh. She does a good job. It was a good event this year, wasn’t it?
RL: It was brilliant. Yes.
RH: A hundred and twenty attendees?
RL: Er, 130, 140, I think, at the end of the [indiscernible 01:44]. Yeah.
RH: Oh! Brilliant. Brilliant. It was a really good event.
RL: So it was good. Yeah.
RH: Yeah, she does a good job. So, ably supported by two fab ladies in the office. But not in the office. They’re all over the place, aren’t they?
RL: All over the place. Yes, absolutely, with events and, er, not just the, the, the awards program, but, er, about 70 other events that we run across the East Midlands every year.
RH: Everything from, erm, continuing professional development through to the awards, er, awards program, the Charter Director program through to more informal networking. All sorts.
RL: All sorts of things. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
RH: Brilliant. Brilliant. So, erm, we will flash up Ron or, er, and/or the IoD’s contact details at the end of the video as we usually do. If you want to get in touch with them, worth doing. Erm, but you’re gonna come, you’ve, you’ve, you’re here to talk about all things awards. So, I’m a huge fan of the Institute of Directors Awards. To me that IoD badge has huge merit and [indiscernible 02:42]. Erm, is that why the IoD set the awards up? What, what, what was the purpose? What was the thinking behind setting the awards up?
RL: The, the, the real reason was about identifying people who had a great business story to tell, and it’s slightly different with the IoD in that we, we’re an organisation that operates on behalf of individuals. So you don’t join as a company; you join as an individual.
RL: So, to us, it’s really important that we have really good directors, and we know we have those, but persuading them to come out into the open and share their business story with us. A number of reasons for that. We want to promote their success, but they can often act as very significant role models to other directors. Let’s see what “good” looks like and whether we can copy that and do something similar.
RH: In fact, let’s see what “excellent” looks like with—
RL: Excellent. Yes. Even better.
RH: Some of the guys that were winning this year, it was, you know, [blowing sound].
RL: Yeah. And I think, you know, th-, th-, they’re all very similar in that they’re very reluctant to put themselves forward. So, we have a nominations process for those that are maybe a little bit shy about putting themselves forward, but we welcome people putting themselves forward because they’ve already undertaken some sort of self-assessment at that point. So, they should know that they’re in with an opportunity of winning one of these very prestigious awards.
RH: Now, erm, the awards operate regionally?
RL: Yeah, absolutely. So, we will run the awards for the East Midlands region, and our counterpart in all the other regions will do something very similar. And then what we’re aiming for is the winners of our awards will then progress through to the national finals which are a very prestigious event with five to six hundred people, er, down in London, er, with the bright lights and all that London has to offer.
RH: [Gasp] Eighteenth of October, friends. We’ve got a table—well, we’ve got a couple of tables for the East Midlands. You guys have got a table. We’ve got Shaheed Sheikh OBE who won pretty much everything. Erm, we’ve got Pete Frost from Unity—
RH: His building. His Sofa of Success—
RH: – for now. Er, we’ve got him down there as well. We’ve got some guests. We’ve got—Edward Cooper Young are coming down. Er, they were Highly Commended this year.
RL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
RH: They’re coming down to, to see what that room’s all about and to get some extra inspiration for a win next year.
RH: So, it’s gonna be—
RL: Well, I think that’s important. You know, you, you mentioned word inspiration.
RL: I think what we’re looking for in our awards are inspirational people who, again, may not recognise it in themselves, but others do recognise it in them. So that, that’s important as well. And, erm, that, that, that’s what we’re anxious or keen to get people to actually think about. You know, can you inspire others? Have you got a great story to tell?
RH: Brings me on to a point that I often get asked from clients when I suggest them entering the Institute of Directors Director of the Year awards. Er, typically, not exclusively, but typically, The Awards People deal with the SME part of market, possibly even the S’s of the SME part of market, and they, they’re perception of the IoD is that you need to be Richard Branson, or you need to be a director in BP or Bank of England or, you know, the real, the, the footsie [FTSE] companies.
RH: They have a perception that those are the people that you’re trying to attract, and I’ll say, “A director is a director is a director is a director.” If you’re a director of a limited company, the IoD’s open for you.
RL: Absolutely. So, so, we—and, and you don’t even have to be director of a limited company. You could be holding a director-level position in a public sector organisation—
RH: Good point.
RL: – or a not-for-profit organisation. You may not be given the title of director, but you may have responsibilities similar to a director. So, our awards are open to all of those people. And as for large companies, yes, it’s right to say that, erm, er, we have members who are on the boards of the FTSE 100 companies, but they’re the tiny minority. The vast majority of our members come from SMEs, and quite often they’ve started the business themselves or they’re running family businesses.
RL: So, just like the typical business you might meet anywhere in, er, the East Midlands, erm, those sorts of businesses make up our membership.
RH: So, have confidence in yourself, friends. If you are a director or, indeed, if you hold director-level responsibilities—I think Pete from Unity won as a trustee for Norton Housing and Support, didn’t he, er, in the East Midlands—
RL: Of course he did.
RH: – regions?
RL: And, and, and we have that all the time. We have a special category for, for people who are in the public sector or the not-for-profit sectors, so they don’t feel they’ve got to compete with somebody that might have a glowing, er, er, business story from the private sector. There’s lots of fantastic work being carried out by people often with no reward as trustees or non-executive directors of not-for-profit organisations, so we’re equally keen to tell their stories as well.
RH: Awesome. Let’s bust another few myths while we’re doing it. Erm, the IoD is full of gentlemen of a certain age wearing grey suits.
RL: Are they?
RH: Last time I looked, I wasn’t a gentleman. I might be of a certain age now, sadly, but when I joined the IoD in fairness, er, what? I was about 28, certainly under 30, erm, and the only time I wore a suit was to go into Pall Mall’s rather posh restaurant at the time because they wouldn’t let you in unless you were in a suit. So, that’s when I pulled out the suit from the, the mothballs of the back of, erm—I haven’t been down for a while, so that, even that rule might have changed. But when we were in the room with clients, er, in—was it June that the awards launch was in?
RL: June, yeah.
RH: [Blowing sound]. [Indiscernible 08:05]. Erm, what was really heartening was the variety of people in that room, that 130, 40 people, there were very clearly very senior people both male and female there, and that’s great. But there were—there were some young dudes in there as well with their wives and girlfriends who’d come along to support, and there was just about everybody in between.
RL: So, w-, we even have a Student Director Award.
RH: Good golly.
RL: It might be somebody that hasn’t actually become a director yet—
RH: [Indiscernible 08:32], wasn’t she?
RL: Yes. Yes, absolutely. But, but they’ve got a good story to tell in terms of where they’ve got to in their, erm, process of being at university or their experience at university but are looking to move on to a senior leader-, leadership position.
RL: So, quite often we have students who’ve started the business already or may be just thinking about getting into the corporate world and getting into one of those senior positions. And then it goes all the way up from that. You know, we do our very small businesses. I can think of a business a couple of years ago, a small recruitment business, er, with two people running it, but they won one of our awards.
RL: So, it’s open to everybody, and, er, [indiscernible 09:08] saying that size isn’t important. Well, in this occasion it really isn’t important. It’s more about what you as a director in your position are doing to influence your organisation or your business.
RH: And it’s really nice to see the IoD, erm, embracing talent now and helping to develop it which is really what the, the young director program and, and the student program is all about. I, I think, anyway, from an outsider’s point of view.
RL: Yeah. So, so we have the Young Director of the Year Award, er, w-, which is, er, obviously for younger directors. But, erm, in addition to that, we have our 99 Group—
RL: – which is a special category of membership aimed at young entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs that have come into it, erm, somewhat later in life maybe having had a career but then decide to, to become self-employed—
RL: – or develop a business idea. So, that’s a fantastic group because we do a lot of er, erm, networking and giving people the opportunity to pitch their business to others. And, er, it’s part of our commitment to, to nurture entrepreneurial talent.
RH: Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Now, last myth bust before we turn on to plans for the IoD, erm, what you’re hoping for, whether the awards are open for next year, all that kind of stuff. Erm, I was doing some research before I sat up The Awards People, and, er, I was feeling out the competition, as you do, er, and saying, “Oh, my client, er, is thinking about entering awards and I don’t know where to start.” All that kind of stuff. A bit naughty, but, you know, you have to do your competitor analysis, don’t you? Erm, Ron told me that, so I did it.
RH: Erm, one of the—and they said, “Oh, which awards are you thinking of entering?” And I was a bit caught off-guard because I hadn’t actually thought about that question which sounds silly, er, but so I said, “Oh, the Institute of Directors Awards.” And they said to me, and I’m almost quoting, “Don’t bother with those, Rach. Erm, it’s definitely a case of who you know, er, not what you know.” And I was stunned because I have been a judge on the IoD awards a few years ago now. And I was thinking, “Where the hell have they got that all from” ’cause that’s just not true. We’ve got the big dude. We’ve got the big dog of the East Midlands here on the Sofa of Success, what would you say to that politely? What would you say to them?
RL: Nothing could be further from the truth because, as I said earlier, we’re looking for great business stories. And it doesn’t matter to us where you’ve come from or where you’re heading. What’s important is have you had an impact? Can we describe that impact? Can we take inspiration from what you’ve done? Can you persuade others that being a company director or a leader in a not-for-profit organisation is a worthwhile thing to do? If you can do that, then enter the awards. Er, we even go so far as to not even look at whether people are members of the IoD, so in the East Midlands and nationally, 70 percent of the people who win our awards have had no prior involvement with the IoD. So, we’re very keen to encourage those people that we wouldn’t normally see to come forward and to enter these awards.
RH: Brilliant. And, and there’s no cost to enter the awards either—
RL: No cost.
RH: – apart from the time, obviously, it takes you to do it, but there’s no, there’s no fee for entering.
RL: No, no. And I’ve heard, you know, some awards are, are, now looking at charging people to enter.
RL: I just think that’s wrong. You know, what we want are good business stories. Why put any barriers in the way? It’s hard enough to get people to apply now, erm, so why put additional barriers in the way? The important thing is come and tell us what you’re doing. Er, and, and we, we’ll provide whatever guidance is needed to encourage people to take that step into putting a, an entry in to, to the awards.
RH: Mm-hmm. Cool. That’s brilliant. So, what does the future for the IoD start of the year awards look like? Erm, any, any inside information you can give us?
RL: So, we, we’re going to, erm, re-introduce our Young Director category—
RL: – in the next, er, year’s awards. Er, that was taken out, er, part-, partly because we didn’t want to overwhelm people with too many categories.
RL: But the demand is there for young directors, especially in the East Midlands which is, er, more entrepreneurial than many other parts of the country.
RL: So, we have a lot of young people who’re coming out starting their own business, er, becoming senior leaders in the corporate sector, and so we think Young Director is a really important category.
RH: I agree.
RL: And in the past we’ve talked about a global award, and global means different things. What we’re really interested in is people who have, er, entered into an export market, who’s selling overseas, who’s doing really well at that because, again, we want to encourage people who are good at selling overseas to tell their story, to tell others how they can enter overseas markets and hopefully be as successful as they have been.
RL: So, that’s another change.
RH: And now we are online rather than that on a paper-based form, so that’s cool.
RL: Yes. So it means the judging process is, er, more even-handed, I think. We reserve the opportunity, should we need it, er, to, er, see people face-to-face. Er, it may be a telephone call, but we’ve refined the online process ready for next year so that we’re able to elicit as much information as we possibly can in the shortest space possible because, again, we don’t want to bog people down in the, in the process of applying. Erm, but we think we’ve refined it to the extent that, erm, we-, we’ve ironed out some of the glitches that were there previously, so it should be straightforward, er, to get more information from the website and equally straightforward to now apply online.
RH: And did I hear you correctly when you sat down before we turned the camera on that it’s actually—that you could, you could apply for next year’s awards already?
RL: Absolutely. The, er, the awards platform is already open. Erm, there are a few, er, additional amendments that need to be made, but I don’t think that will, erm, upset the application process. But now is the time to start thinking about it anyway even if you don’t press the button and submit an application now. Now is a good time to start thinking because we will head into the, er, latter part of the year. Er, we’ll have winter. We’ll have Christmas. And then it’s full steam ahead for us from January in terms of receiving the applications and going for further information if we need it, setting up the judging process. It’s very hard to find judges. Erm, I know you’ve done it in the past, but it’s always a, a struggle to find sufficient judges because of the numbers of people that apply. So, we have all of that to do, and then we hit the closing date which around about the Easter break—
RL: – erm, so, it, it, it—now is the right time to be thinking about it.
RH: And it’s one of the things that we talk about in our blogs, on social media, or on these videos as well, erm, don’t leave it to the last minute. Erm, I’ve said before, er, that when I write an Institute of Directors Award entry for a client I’ve never worked with before taking into the account the—asking their interview part, the writing of the, the document, putting together supporting evidence, er, running it through with the client possibly making some amends, and submitting it, erm, will probably take me the best part of a day—
RL: Absolutely. Yes. I think so.
RH: – per award. So, and I’m reasonably fast, reasonably competent at it, but you’ve got to get it right. And, actually, there’s not that many questions on your award process, but it’s the detail, and it’s making sure you answer those questions. I know it sounds silly, but, you know, don’t go off on a tangent. Answer the question that they are asking. Erm, so—
RL: Now, that’s, that’s really important because I, I think we were all told at school, read the question before you put pen to paper, and the same is true of awards.
RH: Absolutely it is, Ron.
RL: Read the question several times. Make some notes, and then go back and make sure that you’re really focused on answering the question. And if I had to pick one thing that causes people not to get through as a finalist, it’s probably that they failed to answer the question in the way it’s been termed, and maybe do as you suggest, go off at a slight tangent. So, it really is important, even at the end of the process, to just check again that what you’ve written actually does respond to the question that’s being asked.
RH: There you go. Top tip from, er, from Ron. Erm, and I always write them offline. I write them on a Word document. That’s where we do our edits. If you’re called to judging, or if, indeed, Ron phones you up and asks you a few more questions about your entry, once the portal’s closed, the portal’s closed. That’s gone, friends. So, you can make sure that what you’re saying is actually what’s on your application. There’s not a disconnect ’cause things like that—
RH: – and he’s a bugger for it. He’ll sniff out those little disconnects, and all of a sudden, it’ll be like, “Mm. That doesn’t quite ring true.” So, one, always tell the truth on your application. But two, if you’re my age or older and your—the old memory is going, if you get your facts and your figures just wrong, it just doesn’t put you in the best of lights. So, have it on Word, then upload it onto the portal, close the portal, and put your application in. You’ve still got your copy. It’s absolutely vital. Er, so yeah. Answer the question. Erm, what if somebody looks at the categories and thinks, “Oh, no. I don’t quite fit into that or that.” Would you say, “Don’t put an application in,” or would you say, er, “Talk to us ’cause, actually, you might be just being a bit modest,” suffering from that, you know, light under bushel British thing?
RH: Or would you say, “Keep it in mind for the year after.”? What would—
RL: We get this very frequently when we launch the awards that people say, even if they’ve been nominated, “I don’t think I deserve an award,” or “I don’t fit into the category.” The answer is, “Have you got a good business story?” because if you’ve got a good business story, you will fit into one or other of the categories. And the judges always reserve the right anyway, once you submit an application, to move you from one category to the other if, if they think it’s a better fit.
RH: Mm-hmm. Happened to one of our clients, didn’t it?
RL: And, and, and it did. Yes. Yeah. Er, I think Pete, er, again, we’re sat on his sofa, so worth mentioning Pete, erm, he was actually, er, suggested for a different category, and, of course, ended up winning which was fantastic. So, the judges are there to help the people to win, not to, er, provide a barrier to them winning. Erm.
RH: How do you choose the judges? You have said, and I-, I’ve heard it from other award organisers that it can be difficult finding judges, but obviously you’re looking for certain characteristics within those judges. How do you choose them?
RL: Well, one—Well, one way is to look at people who’ve won in the past.
RL: And so we get the winners to come and judge the potential winners. And that’s great for us because they know what they’ve had to go through in, in terms of applying and responding to the judging process. So they, they’re in a good position to assess whether others coming through deserve to get one of these prestigious awards. So that’s one way in which we do it, but we have people who sponsor, er, IoD activities from time-to-time. We have people in senior positions in banks and the finance professions, other parts of the economy, and so we’ll approach them and say, “Look. We think you’ve got a really relevant, er, er, piece of experience, er, probably over a long period of time, er, which will help you, er, help us to sort, erm, the winners from the, the non-runners.”
RH: And what sort of time, do you think, commitment it takes—does it take for people to judge the IoD awards?
RL: Again, I mean, you were suggesting that it takes about a day to put a, an application, er, together.
RL: I would say if you’re judging one of the main categories, it might take up to a day to carry out the judging. It, of course, depends on how many finalists are shortlisted, but typically I would say in each group there are going to be between five and ten finalists, so it’s then a case of how do you pick out a winner and perhaps to even think that it was so close you’ve got some Highly Commended. So, erm, it can take that sort of time. On the other hand, if you’ve only got, er, the bare minimum of about five finalists, you might find there it takes a couple of hours. And if you’ve been involved in the judging process before, of course, you don’t have to learn very much more to participate in it in, in a future awards program, so experience as judge is, is very important.
RH: Mm. I can’t judge anymore ’cause, ’cause I keep having to excuse myself by one of ours.
RH: We’ll have to get Pam Marr, Superstar, to do it.
RL: Well, I remember when you were judging, I think you’d helped somebody put an application in, hadn’t you? Er, but, of course, you did the right thing which was to say, “Look, I know this business.”
RH: I was going to sit outside in the naughty corridor.
RL: Erm, and we said, “Go and sit outside while we do the important stuff.”
RH: [Laughs] You’ve been waiting to say, “Get out,” for ages, haven’t you?
RL: No. Not at all.
RH: Oh, perfect. Now, for clients that, that we’ve worked with, erm, on, on awards generally but on the Institute of Director Awards, if you think about—if you’re an SME business particularly, if you think about the people that you want to connect with, the decision-makers, quite often you don’t find them out and about at your more general business networking events. Why am I talking about this? Whilst the IoD would never say that the Director of the Year Awards are a networking opportunity, if you’ve got 100 plus, 140 people in a room, who are either, er, finalists, er, supporters of finalists, er, interested outsiders, er, perhaps people who didn’t make it through to the finals who want to come this year to just see, you know, wh-, why didn’t I. Erm, well, yeah. Now, I understand. Mark Wileman’s in the room. Hmm. Here. Try and beat Mark on innovation, and you’re up for a stiff competition there. Erm, but y-, you’re to learn from it, to understand what they can do to better enhance their efforts next year. You’ve got those people in that room. That is a room you want to be in, friends, whether it’s in the East Midlands or, as you say, down in London. And one of the guys on our table, er, was a winner, erm, networked that room, came out with four sales appointments, converted two pieces of business.
RH: Now, that is not the point of the IoD awards but, by jingo, is it a nice side effect.
RL: Absolutely. And I hear about that all the time how pleased people were that they came, er, to one of the awards ceremonies, er, because it was about learning from the winners but also the other contacts that they make.
RL: If you think about it, you know, going down to the national finals in London where there will be between 500 and 1,000, er, a lot of them could be potential customers.
RH: Mm. Mm.
RL: So, so get involved. Come along.
RH: Yeah. The worst that can happen is that you have a nice meal and a, and a bit of fun. And the best that can happen is you win and/or win some, some new contacts, connections, and, and business.
RL: Yeah. And I came across somebody, er, two years ago who, erm, had been running her business for about three years, felt she needed to go to the next stage and wanted to find a mentor. And she came up to me after the awards and said, “I’m really interested in finding a mentor, and I think that individual that won that award would be fantastic, but I daren’t 23:38 to approach them.” And I said, “Well, let me go and introduce you.” And as far as I know, that relationship was formed at that point. She got the mentor she wanted. The mentor was very pleased to be asked.
RL: And it was one of our award winners.
RH: That’s brilliant—
RL: Yeah. So, yeah.
RH: – brilliant piece of news.
RH: So, it’s just win, win, win on so many levels. So, don’t be frightened. Have a look at the criteria. Talk to Ron or one of his team at the East Midlands office, or, if you’re watching this from a non-East Midlands region. [Sighs]
RL: Yeah, send all the enquiries to us.
RH: [Whispers 24:12].
RL: That’s [indiscernible 24:14].
RH: Join the East Midlands.
RH: And if you can, ask to be associated with—er, go to the, the, er, Ron’s oppo 24:21, or Sue or Cari’s oppo in those regions. Have a chat with them. They’re there to help. They want to encourage talent. Erm, they want people to enter the awards. There’s no cost over and above the time it takes for you to enter those awards. Erm, you know, they-, they’re working hard to try and encourage people to enter. I know from my client’s own experience that it’s a bloomin’ valuable, erm, experience.
RL: Well, I was just going to talk about one other thing, Rachel—
RH: Mm. Please do.
RL: – and that was that, erm, quite often, erm, the fact that you enter, and you get shortlisted, you can then promote the fact that you’re shortlisted for these awards.
RH: Oh, yes.
RL: And that, in itself, starts to become a potential sales tool. So, we do provide email signatures and, er, similar, er, support for our finalists.
RH: And shout-out on LinkedIn and bits and bobs, Twitter.
RL: Absolutely. So the whole social media bit. We have our quarterly magazine which will feature the finalists. We will issue, er, fliers to promote the awards ceremony which will list the, er, finalists. And then if you take it through to, you know, if you’re a, a winner or highly commended, again you get a special email signature that you can use, er, erm, for, for everything that you send out. But you can also use it in your social media as well. So, the IoD will provide all of that with the artwork and everything else for anybody that is either a finalist, er, a winner or somebody that gets highly commended.
RH: Do you know, it’s like Ron has, has been to the School of Rach from Award Entering. We, we talk about the same thing. Don’t wait to be—to win.
RH: Talk about the fact that you’re honoured to have been nominated. Talk about the fact you’ve been shortlist of finalists. Talk about the fact that you’re in the room, erm, and if you don’t win this year, then, then say congratulations to the winners. If you’re highly commended, talk about that. If you win, talk about that. You know, i-, it gives you several opportunities but it’s really demonstrating, erm, your ability, your CuDos 26:14, your reputation. It’s enhancing all of those pieces. Reputable awards like the IoD Director of the Year Awards are, are rare within quite a wide award landscape. And the differences it can make to you, either in terms of personal development, your business in terms of sales opportunities, making those connections with highly-respected directors of, of businesses of all sizes, it’s worth being in that room. So, we’re going down to London. I’m wearing a frock.
RL: I’m not.
RH: Allegedly. Erm, I’m gonna wear a frock, so I’m gonna frighten you by wearing a frock, erm, and frighten myself probably. Erm, and we’re gonna have a fine old time in October whether we win or not. Er, if you were a betting man?
RL: Well, we had, er, a winner last year. We had a winner the year before in the national awards. Er, we want more than one winner.
RH: We do.
RL: We want as many as we can, so we’ll be there rooting for everybody from the East Midlands. It will be competitive because these are the best performing directors across the whole of the UK.
RH: And you said how many finalists are there in the national?
RL: A hundred and ten finalists.
RH: Hundred and ten finalists. By jingo, that is—yeah.
RH: A hundred and ten.
RL: But everybody that’s got there, of course, should be telling everybody else about it: customers, suppliers. You know, I’ve reached the final of the IoD National Director of the Year Awards.
RL: How great is that? How many people can actually say that? This year, 110 out of the many millions of directors that we have throughout the UK.
RH: It’s a great, it’s a great opportunity.
RL: Just start writing now.
RH: [Sighs] You heard him. Start writing now. Do as you’re told. Erm, I’m, I’m looking forward to October. I think it will be fun. It’s always a good do.
RH: Er, let’s hope that some of our East Midlands winners make it big, make it, er, make it a National Final as well. If not, then, the coverage for the East Midlands has been great.
RH: Er, the East Midlands Magazine fell onto my desk this morning just as I was rushing out.
RL: Oh, good.
RH: And stupidly I forgot to bring one, but the—I had a flick through. Er, some brilliant photos. A great write-up.
RL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
RH: Yeah, you must be really proud.
RL: Absolutely. So, and that, again, you can send out to customers and suppliers. If you want more copies of the magazine, we can provide that. It’s available on the website as well to download as a PDF. Er, but, but it’s all there. It’s all reported, and that’s now why is the right time to be promoting the awards to everybody else because we’ve just gone through that fantastic process of finding our regional winners. And we’re about to go down to London and support them in the national finals.
RH: It is so exciting. I mean, you know me. Rarely do I put on a frock and go to an evening do, especially an award do. So, the, the IoD one is one of the ones that just drag me out. Er, so, that’ll be fun—
RH: – if ours win.
RH: Obviously, otherwise we’ll be sitting on a very sad table. We might have to make an excuse and run off Cinderella-like toward the end of the evening.
RH: Er, thank you so much for spending time with us.
RH: Ron has just dropped a little tippet, er, or a hint, erm. In the East Midlands this year, we are going to doing an awards launch about November time.
RH: So—and he said Champagne breakfast.
RL: Could be. Could be Champagne breakfast.
RH: Could be. Oof.
RL: How many opportunities do you get, do you get to have one of those in the, er, pretty few and far between.
RH: Not often, mate. Not often. So then we will make sure that when we hear the location, time, date, er, we’ll share that with you. Come along. Meet the team. I promise—as you can see from him sitting here talking to me, he’s, he’s eminently approachable. Sue and Cari, equally so. They’ll answer your questions. They’ll give you the tips and the guidance that you want. Heck, if you get stuck, you can even ask me. Erm, but yes. Come and have a, an ask.
RH: Now, before we let you go, we have three very hard-hitting IoD-detailed, detailed questions. We don’t. We have a bit of fun at the end. We ask three questions at the end of everybody who sits on the Sofa of Success. Thank you, Pete. Erm, and the first one is let’s assume that you are on the table. You’ve been nominated. You’re through to the finals.
RH: When they—you hear your name—Ron Lynch has won this award, Erm, Bear hug or high five?
RL: Make a big song and dance about it. Do whatever you feel you want to do. I’ve been at the other end where I’ve announced a winner at the National Finals.
RL: And I may well do this year.
RL: The feeling is unbelievable. And the feeling when those people hear their name called out is something you can hardly describe, so I think it’s, you know, one of those things that may only happen once in a lifetime, so make a big song and dance about it. High five, bear hug, whatever ticks your fancy.
RH: Yeah, he’s gonna be flipping somersaults, friends.
RL: I will if there’s an East Midlands winner.
RH: Mm. [Laughs] Do you know what?
RL: Join me.
RH: I might just, you know, pull my back out and join you especially if there’s more than one because I’m thinking of two people in particular. [Laughs]
RL: Yeah. Yes.
RH: What about, erm, so, y-, you, Ron, have won the award. Do you go up on the stage on your own, or do you take your team with you?
RL: Well, there isn’t a lot of time at awards ceremonies to get the whole team out, so I always think it’s best to have the winner up there.
RL: Erm, and then there will be arrangements made for team photographs and whatever you want afterwards. Er, go up there and be in the spotlight. Otherwise, we’d need a very big spotlight, wouldn’t we, to get the whole team there?
RH: Or a big stage for some of the companies.
RL: A big stage, as well.
RH: And very small stages for others. Er, but it’s all the same. They’re all winners. You come off the stage. I’m at the bar buying the drinks. Do you say Champagne or Prosecco, Rach?
RL: Ooh, it’s got to be Champagne, a good one.
RH: Good man.
RL: Got to be. Yeah.
RH: Good man.
RH: You see, we have had the odd person, mentioning no names (Dave Sinclair, Filmmaker Extraordinaire) who said Prosecco.
RL: [Laughs] Did he? Well, there’s no—
RH: And Pam Marr, Superstar, who’s not heard this today ’cause she’s on holidays.
RL: No accounting for taste, but i-, it’s got to be Champagne, Dave.
RH: Of course.
RL: How can you have anything other than Champagne to celebrate?
RH: The man’s a fool. The man’s— [Laughs]. But he did also then say pint of bitter.
RL: Oh, well that’s okay. I could live with that.
RH: Well, that, that’s fine. Yeah, a pint of [indiscernible 32:14]. Mm.
RL: Yeah, yeah.
RH: So, well, you’re a Champagne man. Good on you.
RH: Right answer. Not that there is a right answer, obviously. Erm, will you come back or send Sue/Cari or all of you come and talk to us about the experience of the nationals?
RL: Absolutely. We’d be very happy to do that.
RH: ’Cause Dave and I’ve just put our October dates in the diary, and actually after the 18th, so we could—
RH: – hotfoot back, and if your diary allows since it’s a Thursday, isn’t it? Yeah, because I know Ron can’t do Wednesdays. So Thursday we’ve booked in, so let’s think about Wednesday.
RL: Let, let’s do it.
RH: Come and talk to us. And if we do have—
RL: If we have a winner, we’ll drag them along with us.
RH: Yeah, let’s.
RH: We’re gonna have a really busy sofa, Dave. And they’re all gonna be Champagne drinkers, I’m telling you.
RL: We’ll have to get Pete to get a slightly longer sofa, I think, if we do that.
RH: Yeah, we’ll get him to up his game on the Sofa of Success. Well, hopefully, he might be on this.
RL: He might be on it. Yeah.
RH: Ooh. Oh, I’ve got butterflies.
RL: How’s that work? Pete being on his own sofa?
RH: It works quite well, actually.
RL: Does it?
RH: Yeah, yeah. He’s quite good. Mm. He’s very good, actually.
RL: He fits in. He fits in.
RH: Right. I have to say thank you to you. I shall release you back into the wild—
RH: – er, of business in the East Midlands. Thank you so much for your time. We will see you next week, er, with another fabulous guest on the Sofa of Success. Take care. Have a great week. I’ve been Rach from The Awards People. We’ll see you next week.