As children we are told that we must do our best. In turn we tell our children the same thing. But why? We could tell them to sit back and let everyone else work hard but we all know that provides no satisfaction. Society functions on the basis that citizens do their best and our own self-esteem is governed by whether we think we are doing our best or not.
Of course, not everyone can be the best and the best that is achieved by one person could be very different to what is achieved by someone else. Individuals will define their own best very differently. Not every business can be the best business and not every business is striving to be the best. But those that are the best and those that strive to be the best effect everyone else too.
Breakthroughs are achieved by companies and individuals that achieve a best that is better than the competition. In one sense the horticulture industry is no different from any other in this respect but how do you decide who is the best and what makes a business better than another?
This is the challenge faced by the jury of the AIPH International Grower of the Year (IGOTY) awards. We took the time to identify a high-calibre jury of well-respected industry players, people who know what it means to be the best already. Then comes the task of defining the criteria for what the best looks like. These criteria have been finely tuned over the ten years in which the awards have been run. Economic performance clearly matters. The best businesses must be profitable as they need that to keep successful and deliver ongoing developments. The best businesses must be innovative, bringing something new to the industry or to the market, doing something in a different way and pushing the boundaries. The best businesses will understand their market and customers inside out. The best businesses will be sustainable, with demanding environmental and social standards, practices and ambitions.
Those that enter IGOTY believe they are something special and I am constantly amazed at the high quality of the best businesses in our industry. It is one of our roles in AIPH to promote best practice. The businesses that reach the finals of these awards will be exceptional and every one of us can learn from them so that collectively we can move this industry onwards and upwards. We might not all be the best, but we can all celebrate the best as they wave the flag for our industry.
Why not come and join us for our gala awards dinner on 22 January at IPM Essen in Germany to find out who the winners are and celebrate all that is so great about our industry? You can see more at www.aiph.org/groweroftheyear. I look forward to seeing you there.