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Dorian Awards Spotlight: Red X Master of the Year

Each year we celebrate outstanding problem solving efforts by hosting the Dorian Awards. Problem Solvers and leaders from around the globe are nominated to receive a Dorian Award in one or more categories. This article describes the Red X Master of the Year Award.  

For context, a Red X Master is an advanced problem solver who has not only proven their ability through hands-on resolution of complex problems, but also demonstrated an ability to coach other problem solvers to success.  

Honoring their efforts and success each year is simply one way to share our appreciation for developing the problem solvers of tomorrow. This year we conducted an interview with our Vice President of Training & Marketing Dick Shainin to talk a bit about the award. 

Let's talk about the Dorian Awards and the red X Master of the year award

Q: How do the Dorian Awards reflect the legacy of Dorian Shainin?

A: The Dorian Awards reflect Dorian’s legacy as an outstanding problem solver. He was able to solve the most challenging problems, many of which had been unresolved for decades. And customers knew that if they brought Dorian in, he would apply a structured and disciplined approach to drill down and find the hidden cause of their problems. He often said that difficult problems; they take a little while to solve. Impossible ones: they take just a little bit longer. 

With the Dorian Awards, we recognize problem solvers who have overcome technical challenges to find a problem’s hidden root cause. In evaluating these nominations, we look at both the difficulty of finding the Red X, and the impact; either in terms of improving relationships with our client’s customers, or bottom line savings.

Q: What are the benefits of receiving a Dorian award?

A: We can think of the benefits of receiving a Dorian Award from 2 perspectives; From the perspective of the team leader and the team members who are being recognized, and from the perspective of their company. 

  • For a team, receiving a Dorian Award means that their project has been one of the most outstanding projects completed in the previous year, as compared to their peers across the globe and across industries. So, the recipients get the recognition of the outstanding nature of their work.
  • For the company, having their teams receive a Dorian Award reinforces the impact of their effort to improve the discipline and the quality of their problem solving as an organization. So, it becomes a reinforcement for building a culture that can address any problem quickly and effectively. 

Q: What is the Master of the Year Award and what criteria are used to evaluate submissions?

A: Master of the Year is a Leadership Award. It is not simply a recognition of how many projects have been coached or how many people have been developed, but it measures the impact that a Master has had in improving the problem solving capabilities of their company using Shainin. 
Some previous winners have expanded the use of Shainin problem solving from technical projects into business processes and TransaXional. 
A good example was a Master who recognized a serious gap in performance on warranty and initiated projects into a particular warranty category, solving specific problems, developing people as those problems were solved. But very importantly, they established new standards in that technology to ensure that future products would be trouble-free from a warranty perspective. 

Q: Can you describe the Dorian Award review process?

A: Once the nominations have been received, Shainin puts teams to work reviewing each nomination against our rigorous standards. We identify finalists and winners in each category. Those finalists and winners are promoted through updates on our website. And so, there is recognition that comes from people in the Shainin community via those reviews.

Q: How are the Dorian Awards presented?

A: Once the winners have been determined, trophies and certificates are issued. Additionally, we can schedule an award ceremony (at the request of the winner and/or organization) and encourage the engagement of their leadership so that the recognition is extended within their company. And we have been successful in getting leaders to participate and recognize the outstanding work of their teams.

Q: How can someone submit a nomination for a Dorian Award?

A: The Dorian Award nomination window is open at the beginning of November and closes in the middle of December. Submissions should include supporting documentation in a Word document or PowerPoint presentation. The nomination link is available on the Dorian Awards page, which you can find under the Resources tab on the Shainin website.