Editor’s Words: Strength in adversity

A sombre mood has been cast across the United Kingdom with its effects reaching all four corners of the globe. Queen Elizabeth II has passed and Charles III has been proclaimed king. As the world adjusted to the loss of the longest serving monarch on record, the ERP Today community shared a unique opportunity to pay tribute to Her Majesty at Royal Ascot, one of the late Queen’s most cherished venues.

In true British fashion, the ERP Today Awards stayed calm and carried on whilst being mindful of recent events and respectful of our surroundings. A packed Ascot Racecourse witnessed the coming-together of the entire ERP community for our annual fundraising and awards event. A minute’s silence was observed before proceedings began and a showreel of Her Majesty’s greatest Ascot moments was shared on big screens around the venue.

It was an honour and a privilege for all who attended to reflect and give thanks to one of humanity’s greatest leaders.

The death of a reigning monarch is something that very few, if any of us, will have experienced before. The magnitude of recent events cannot be overstated and although it’s direct bearing on the world of big business and technology will be imperceptible, it serves as a timely reminder of the fragility of life, the passing of time and lessons that can be learned from hardship.

I am a firm believer that failure and adversity are vital ingredients for prosperity. The hardest lessons leave the greatest impression and help prepare us for the future. Mistakes challenge us to do better. Loss teaches us to value. Failure gives success meaning. The rich tapestry of life rarely offers a linear journey and I know that the sum of my past experiences plays a vital role in shaping my future.

As I reflect on the fourth anniversary of launching ERP Today, I think about our own challenging, consuming but ultimately rewarding journey. From our launch event which was nearly scuppered by ex-President Trump, to our first awards event which was cancelled due to the pandemic, the second attempt which was the first in-person event after lockdown, through to our most recent Ascot experience which took place in the wake of national mourning. At times it has felt like the gods have been against us – but that has only spurred us on, forced us to work harder and ultimately sweetened the successes.

The ERP Today Transformation Project of the Year is a fitting example of triumph over adversity. The project was predicated on the awful loss of life amongst Network Rail’s employees, and it had twice failed in the past. Undeterred and motivated by necessity, Network Rail and its partners found the resolve and determination to learn from the past and deliver a programme of change that will bear long lasting and meaningful benefits.

We should not be afraid or embarrassed by mistakes, adversity or failure.

We often need these reminders to fulfil our true potential.