August 28 is a day some distinguished personalities will permanently watermark on their calendar.
Blueprint Excellence Awards purportedly affiliated to the Kofi Annan Foundation and the United Nations (UN) was put together by one Dr Kwame Owusu Fordjour to decorate these personalities in governance, religion, business, media, entertainment and politics.
This affiliation, however, has been debunked by both the Kofi Annan Foundation and the UN through public statements leading these notable fellows to a nationwide embarrassment.
Let us peruse the situation to draw lessons for our upkeep.
- Secure concrete data. A simple check by the awardees on the UN website would have told the true state of the scheme as not been sanctioned, thereby saving them the embarrassment. One must always conduct due diligence on individuals and institutions offering them investment or employment opportunities even when they bear credible portfolios before making a decision. This is a wake-up call for the use of the internet for its primary function i.e. seeking information and learning and not just parading on various social media platforms. We must also seek professional assistance if need be when do not possess the requisite skill. We should also endeavour to consult colleagues and/or friends for their opinions as they might have encountered such situations.
- The devil you know…: Some patrons shunned the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) which have a had an aged long enviable reputation for genuineness and for which these patrons were nominees, for a supposed UN awards scheme which they themselves could not vouch for. We must always have the full facts about a venture before jumping aboard. It is also essential to secure what we have before seeking more. When in conflict, we should always stick to what is certain. If one must take risks, it must be calculated.
- Hasten not into a deal. The award coincided with the (VGMA) thereby might not afford the patrons time to verify. We must learn to delay our resolve once we do not have ample time and information to make informed decisions. We may also delegate that responsibility if time is of the essence.
- You are not too big for anything. Some recipients might have believed that been a notable official of well-established institutions and famous, the award must be genuine therefore dropping their guard. One must approach every ball game “tabula rasa” i.e. clean/empty slate, thereby subjecting them to thorough scrutiny.
- No shortcut to heaven: Some of the awardees have teams trained and tasked to handle awards and publicity. I believe that their sidestepped their teams or did not allow them to run their duties prior to receiving the awards. We must employ and allow systems and processes to fully function and not to override them in haste to meet our desires.
- Be on the right side of the law. An awardee who is an authority in advertisement, ran a jingle for the scheme, giving it credence without first verifying if the organisers were duly authorized/registered for the intended course. We must be cautious who and what we professionally associate with whether through endorsements, investments or employment. The association might make us culpable to their ills. An advertiser or brand influencer must ensure all necessary documentation and/or approvals from the relevant authorities have been secured and probed.
- Run for your life. An award was presented to honour a service discharged within a period (3 months) too limited to call. The awardee realised it but decided to excite himself and fell for it. When something appears too good to be true, it is really not good to be true.