2020 was supposed to be a year that only opticians remembered for being the holy grail of marketing, but as circumstances continued to evolve, textbooks and business journals had already begun to immortalize its events.
In terms of economic, social, and even psychological impact, COVID-19 has influenced the global homeostasis more prominently than any other event in decades. Acclimating to a new mode of business, all while maintaining an adequate supply of toilet paper, was a daunting process that required a massive paradigm shift.
In reflecting on the implementation of a new work order, the executive team at England Logistics held a roundtable discussion to review the status of the implementation. What ensued was an emotional, personal, and raw recount of the events that transpired, and the role of optimism in buoying up an entire corporate family.
The following three-part article series is commentary on that discussion.
Headlines, broadcasts, and every public media channel seem to be ringing out the same story: COVID-19 is among one of the most impactful global events in our history.
As businesses seek to adapt to such a dramatic shift, entire workforces are made remote, technology is a primary medium of communication, and, tragically, many are even losing their jobs. Such considerable changes are creating a sort of rapid natural selection, with many businesses being crippled by the sudden weight of a new market.
Of course, the severity of COVID-19’s impact has varied depending on market conditions, but one component of business is being tested universally by COVID-19’s toll: culture.
Regardless of industry, business size, and the integrity of a business, virtually every organization is confronted with how they, collectively, are to react to the novel virus. Included in that all-encompassing criteria is England Logistics.
As a third-party logistics company, England Logistics immediately experienced an increase of industry stress as the supply-chain reacted to the increase of demand for goods. To further intensify a difficult situation, England Logistics, being headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, was subject to a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, just miles from the epicenter during the corona crisis. Such conditions could understandably create a chaotic environment as market demands became dire, but here lies the miracle:
In fact, President Jason Beardall described the environment following these disasters as being shockingly tranquil:
“I remember coming into the office Monday morning, and I was just impressed with the team at England Logistics. It was vibrant, and alive, and people had great attitudes, and they were working and jumping into the seats and just getting people rolling in trucks to deliver and clients, and yet the interaction with each other was so positive. There was just so much life for me personally as I walked into the office.”
Such a culture of optimism is counter-intuitive to the circumstances of the time, but yet it was present, and even more apparent than ever. How could a general attitude of positivity be so automatic for such a large group of people?
Such a culture of optimism is counter-intuitive to the circumstances of the time, but yet it was present, and even more apparent than ever.
Shaun Beardall, executive vice president of logistics services, speaks to how such a response to crisis was so automatic:
“We’ve inadvertently prepared our team and company and offices just through the culture we’ve set. We’re prepared for anything we can be faced with, whether it’s COVID, an earthquake, IT outages: any situation we’ve faced we can overcome, and it’s because of the culture we’ve cemented. [We’ve established] a team of accountability, a team that knows that they don’t succeed unless everyone is succeeding: just a sincere and genuine investment in the development of people and that team atmosphere.”
To paraphrase Shaun concisely, the optimistic response of the England Logistics team was made possible through a culture established long before the disasters.
With the culture of optimism necessary to persevere through difficult times, not only is productivity able to be maintained in a crisis, but there seems to be a spike in camaraderie, especially following the earthquake. This rise in good spirits is the product of a culmination of factors, but stories such as this one, as told by Shaun, certainly make a difference:
“We had one individual in particular that was going around [at the time of earthquake], and sees an individual under her desk, clearly frightened. Once the shaking had stopped and it was clearly safe for him to do so, he pulled her out from under desk, puts his arm around her, walks her to the door to protect her, and makes sure she’s with some other folks that are exiting the building. Then you see him turn right back around run to the floor to check on all the other folks. So again, you talk about folks that are just rallying around each other for the desire of the safety and well being of others, we are crazy blessed. …we have hero story after hero story that we’ll be anxious to share once we have some of that video footage in seeing some of those clips…”
Several instances of heroism, just like that described, have taken place at the time of the earthquake, and throughout the ongoing duration of COVID-19. Such examples of selflessness and teamwork have always been a staple of England Logistics culture, and in a moment of tremendous pressure, those characteristics manifested themselves dramatically.
Once the shaking had stopped and it was clearly safe for him to do so, he pulled her out from under desk, puts his arm around her, walks her to the door to protect her, and makes sure she’s with some other folks that are exiting the building.
As England Logistics looks to the future, Jeremy Dailami, vice president of brokerage services, wisely remarks,
“No one holds a crystal ball. When we say, ‘What does the future hold? What does the short-term, long-term look like?’ etc., I think it’s somewhat tough to gauge. [But]… it’s all about relationships. Everyone is stepping up and doing the right thing. And I’ve experienced that firsthand.”
“Impossible to predict all the elements of the future, but we can certainly look to the past. As we look at world wars, depressions and recessions, medical health, economic turmoil, every major challenge that our country has gone through, we’ve come out of it because of our very core principles: through hard work, unity, through passion and taking care of others. The future remains extremely bright. I’m optimistic that people are going through that process right now and we’re all getting better, we’re all putting in that extra effort to do the work.”
With that attitude of optimism, and the sense of unity only found in a culture of ‘people first,’ England Logistics continues to find success, and hope in a unique but temporary situation.