We recently became corporate sponsors to British Ladies Rally Champion Louise Cook, a decision that we didn’t take lightly, but which was not hard to make. So what’s the link between Service Desk Management software solutions and rallying you might ask? Well, to me it wasn’t the sport or the opportunity for advertising that was the real draw in this sponsorship opportunity. It was something far more fundamental to human nature.
Some time ago, I was invited to a networking event called the Kent 550 club. Their guest speaker was a young woman called Louise Cook and her talk turned out to be incredibly inspirational. It wasn’t the fact that she was still quite young, or that she had chosen a career in a typically male environment that inspired me especially. What was most fascinating and infectious about Louise Cook was her seemingly unwavering determination and drive to achieve her goal. Louise believes that she will be the first woman to lift the World Rally Championship trophy. And by the end of her talk I believed her too.
Louise’s fascination with cars began when her late father bought her an electric scale model ride on car, aged 6. By 19 she was studying car design at Coventry University where, she tried her hand at rallying and turned out to be rather good at it. In driving terms, Louise is actually a bit of a late starter, but neither this, nor the fact that she is not driving for a works team and therefor needs to raise funding independently is going to hold her back. Quite the opposite.
Having created a problem for herself by signing up to the costly World Rally Championship (WRC), Louise has had to become business woman, entrepreneur, marketer and fundraiser in order to drive her ambition forward; selling sponsorship spots on her BRC and WRC rally car, auctioning her trophies on eBay, participating in promotional events and TV programmes including “King of Speed” with Idris Elba.
Throughout her presentation and through the number of conversations that she and I have had since, Louise has reminded me repeatedly that it’s the way we each approach the challenges that we create for ourselves that can be the difference between success and failure.
I cannot help but draw parallels with aspects of our daily business life and for the sometimes huge challenges that we face together with our customers in helping to meet large scale business goals. We don’t do this by looking at the challenge as a whole and feeling daunted by it, but by believing that it is possible, approaching it from many different sides, wearing many different hats and getting creative in order to bring about the change needed to achieve success.
American football player, coach and executive Vince Lombardi once said “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” In my experience this is absolutely true and is embodied by a host of people in business, in sport and in situations of adversity.
So, when faced with this driven young woman, with a rather large ambition and no reason to believe that she cannot achieve it, how could we not be true to our culture and our ethos by supporting her? The decision was easy. We’ll leave Louise to tackle the hard parts!