Super Seventeenů Sweet!
by Toby Barazzuol on Wednesday Apr 1, 2015

As a boy, not much older than my son is today, I really enjoyed taking baths. I would take bars of soap and rub them in my hands, and I remember being fascinated because it seemed like I could create endless amounts of bubbles. I think that’s when I decided I wanted to start my own company, as it just felt to easy to create things.

So as I sit here 40 years later, on the 17th anniversary of starting Eclipse Awards, I have a big smile on my face. Running a company turned out to be far more difficult than rubbing a bar of soap to create suds, but if you do things carefully, you actually can create an amazing amount of value out of very few resources. In fact, creating the most amount of value out of the least amount of resources turns out to be the essence of running a business!

Over the past 17 years we’ve weathered the rise of the internet, a financial boom, an economic bust, and a sea change in society and the planet we live on. Each year has brought us wonderful successes, and also serious challenges. Through it all, we have had the honour of working with thousands of amazing organizations that truly value their people, and we’ve seen what happens when you build a culture of recognition and appreciation. We continue to explore how to create and deliver ever more value, while at the same time using ever fewer resources - the essence of sustainability. And most importantly, we continue to find ways that recognition can be used to empower people, accelerate social change, strengthen communities and celebrate the human spirit!

Each year I sit down and look back at what we’ve learned. In keeping with that tradition, here are 17 of our homegrown business insights, one for each year:

1. Treat Everyone with Equal Respect

We may all have different roles and responsibilities and backgrounds, but in the end, we are all simply people trying to make our way in this world.  The love you take really is equal to the love you make.

2. Your People are your Greatest Assets

Work with great people, let them do their job, and find ways to make sure they feel happy, engaged and appreciated.  These are the people that will work hard for you, generate ideas for you, solve problems for you and impress your clients...or not.  Recognize their efforts and celebrate them as an important part of your community. Build a culture of appreciation and you will be amazed by what follows!

3. Recognition is Powerful

It speaks to a basic human need that we all have to feel recognized and appreciated and feel valued as a part of a community. Recognition empowers people by bestowing confidence and helps people see themselves in a new light.  Recognizing people for their efforts helps engage them in your community and culture. People who are engaged tend to be happier and contribute to stronger and more resilient organizations.

4. Your Integrity is also your Greatest Asset

Your integrity is the foundation of your business and it permeates all that you do. Cultivate your integrity, build strong relationships, carry yourself with grace, dignity and respect and you will attract the same.

5. Be Bold & Daring

If you dream (highly recommended), go big and bold. If you make a guarantee, make it strong and stand behind it completely.  If you embrace technology or sustainability, do it in a way that sets you apart from others.  Businesses are amazing vehicles for accomplishing things – think outside the box and unleash your creativity in ways that add value to your community.

6. Embrace Awesomeness

At Eclipse, striving for sustainability is simply an extension of our commitment to being awesome!

“Going green” is about choosing to hold ourselves to a highers standard when we relate to one another and our planet. Understanding sustainability is indeed the single greatest investment that you can make towards your future success, but it's not an end itself.  

7. Choose Simplicity over Complexity

Wherever possible, remove excess and make things easier for everyone. Design simple systems and simple policies. Leonardo Da Vinci said  “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” - and he knew what he was talking about.

8. If You Make a Mistake, Take Responsibility & Fix It Quickly (without complaining)

It’s inevitable – at some point a mistake will happen.  When it does, we accept full responsibility and do our best to fix it, whatever the cost, without complaining.  It’s how we handle ourselves when things go wrong that is often the most important. We’ve earned some of our most loyal and longstanding customers because of how we handled something that went wrong.

9. Enjoy Yourself!

Have fun with the people you work with and the people you work for! Take care of business and make things happen, but don’t take yourself too seriously :) PS - in 17 years we’ve never worked weekends, a fact that we hold dear to our hearts.

10. Energy Flows where your Attention Goes

Recognition is energy and so everything we talk about, think about, and do, is a form of recognition.  What do you want to manifest in the world?  Cultivate that with your energy through the things you choose to recognize.  

11. Be a Localist

A business is more than something to simply generate dollars.  It’s also about putting your time and resources into enriching the social, environmental and cultural fabric of the communities you’re part of.  I believe we should all be volunteering 20% of our time in service to our communities - imagine what our world might look like!

12. Collaborate!

It’s hard to do everything alone, and honestly not that much fun. Explore creative new ways to work with your staff, your suppliers, other organizations in your community, even your competitors! All business happens within an ecosystem, and we can accomplish a lot more together than we can alone.

13. Don’t Base Your Decisions Simply on Dollars

In business school, they teach that everything comes down to money.  However in reality, the truly magical and wonderful things happen when we de-prioritize money and focus on other things such as beauty, happiness, integrity, community and creating memorable experiences.  See our commitment to the Living Wage.

14. Compete on Value, Not on Price

Our world is changing quickly and we need to find new ways to live together and with our planet. See #13, but when we purchase solely on price we are forcing companies to continually cut quality.  Instead, we need to make our decisions based on the full spectrum of value that a company creates: financial, social, environmental, visual and cultural - these are all important considerations for both consumers and successful companies of the future.

15. Community is Everything

At Eclipse we talk a lot about community and the importance of building resilient and engaged communities. After all, everyone plays roles in many different communities - your company, your team, your NPO, your family, your association - these are all communities that you’re are part of.  Recognition can be a powerful way to communicate intention, accelerate change and supercharge a community.  Follow along, we’ll show you how it can be done!

16. Put your Clients’ Minds at Ease

Find out all of the things that might worry your clients, then put systems, policies and guarantees in place to address them. Erase any worries or concerns from their minds.  See #5.

17. Profit Comes in Many Forms

The Eskimo people have dozens of names for snow to describe its subtle variations. In English tough we have only one word for profit, which is unfortunate because it too comes in many forms.  Intergrity, love, trust, respect, compassion...these are the currencies of the new economy. Imagine what it would be like to pursue these riches as well!

So there we have it - these things took us 17 years to learn, but you can grasp them in a few minutes.  What do you think, are there any surprises? What role will recognition play at your organization this year? How will you appreciate the qualities and values you admire? What are the important lessons that you've learned on your journey so far?

We'd love to hear your insights and experiences...remember, the more we share, the more we have! Onwards good people!



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