The Definitive Guide to Winning or Receiving a Queen's Honour
One of Our Most Asked Questions - "What Do I Need To Do To Win An Honour?"
Charity / Voluntary Work is Key
In our review of the statistics related to Honours recipients, it became clear that charity & voluntary work is vital. About 10% of Honours go to diplomats, military personnel and other dignitaries, 15% go to business people, entertainers and sportspeople who have enhanced the reputation of the UK overseas and the remaining 75% are given to people from the charity and voluntary fields. This means that if this isn't a significant part of your CV, an Honour might be difficult for you.
Sometimes, our clients say "I don't want to apply now, but maybe in 5 years time. What should I be doing to prepare?". The answer always is "give back" - through charity, social work, pro-bono activities or volunteering.
Your Business Career May Not Be Enough
In our post about Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs, we discuss the challenges of demonstrating "above and beyond" and "not just doing your day job", when creating and maintaining a profitable enterprise is a difficult and time-consuming job to begin with.
Many business leaders have won Honours and they tend to fall into two categories:
- Leaders of International / Multinational Businesses with UK roots that have enhanced the reputation of the UK overseas or generate significant inbound financial benefits (eg Dyson, Virgin etc)
- Leaders or Founders of Businesses that have social or community causes at the heart of their operation (eg Body Shop)
It's not just about "How Long"
Think about your "impact" as an equation - IMPACT = Size of Contribution x Duration of Contribution. If you have been running a local charity for 20 years and helped people in your local town, that is a very long time working in a relatively limited area. But if you stopped going to school on Friday for a year and started a global conversation about climate change - that's a shorter time, but a bigger scope.
It's not for us to say which of the above examples deserves greater recognition - but the length of time doing something isn't the only key measure when Queen's Honours are being considered.
Maybe the best example of short duration but huge impact is Captain Tom Moore.
It's All About Results
Character doesn't win OBEs, & effort doesn't win Knighthoods - results do. Mo Farah didn't become Sir Mo for training hard, or even for many races that he won - he was knighted because he won titles and races which counted. When submitting an Honours application, if results are not at the heart of the submission, success may be difficult.