Awards and Recognition Ceremonies – Are They Really About You?

Why have awards and recognitions, and why have ceremonies for them? Because such inducements help the organization even more than the individual. 

“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” Napoleon Bonaparte

An Air Force physician had not had a ceremony for his promotion to major and asked me if he should have one for his coming promotion to lieutenant colonel. His former supervisor was not pleased, and though this bright and self-effacing young officer didn’t want to be honored in front of others, he also didn’t want to get in trouble.

During two years as Chief Medical Officer at an Army hospital in Virginia, I routinely interviewed people leaving the Army. Several retiring officers said that they did not want retirement ceremonies. They felt that such events put too much focus on them and they wanted to pass quietly into civilian life.

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