You Play to Win the Game

Not too long ago, a disgruntled job candidate sent me an antagonizing email upon learning he would not be offered a position. He closed by saying “…did you really say kickball during our interview?!  Was that part of the “process” – to see if the candidate can keep from laughing at you?  (Make sure you have all of the parental consent forms signed before your next game.)” Now the “parental consent forms” part was a little funny, but the rest clearly showed me that I was right in assessing this person could not fit into our corporate culture. Yes, we have a company Kickball team. In fact, our first season was so successful, that this season we will have two teams. Yes, we competed in America II’s Corporate Sportsfest. Yes, we are having a company Cornhole tournament on our operations floor with our BlueGrace branded Cornhole set. Yes, we competed in Tampa Bay Club Sports Mud Wars. Yes, we even had an exhibition game versus the nationally ranked Tampa Rays wheelchair softball team – and lost horrendously. We play together, we celebrate together, we workout together, travel together, enjoy each other’s families together. Our victories are sweeter and defeats softened because we did them together. Most of all, we work together.

Our kickball season was not successful because of our finish. We took second place only to lose in the first round of the playoffs. What you did get was customer service and sales cheering each other on; executive assistant’s ordering VP’s into their fielding positions; a competitive spirit many people didn’t know they had. My only regret was that we failed to come up with a team name more creative than BlueGrace Logistics. Being in transportation, perhaps the “mudder truckers” would have turned more heads.

Corporate culture can define an organization. In transportation and logistics, you live your life dealing with the intangibles. Some cultures may consider all of the things we do as distractions. I find each and every day that the productivity you get from loyal people who truly believe what you believe will always outperform any environment focused strictly on the numbers and daily tasks. Every late LTL shipment is an emergency! Every truckload quote has to be the lowest! Every customer service call needs to be handled as the most important, and yesterday! New customers need to begin shipping freight today! Under the wrong setting, these conditions could create a very stressful and counterproductive environment. I’ve always understood “logistics” to mean a process. The logistics of our organization, on our worst days, are fluid and efficient because we play together. In this culture everyone can share the same vision. Everyone acts to accomplish the same mission. Disputes are resolved quicker. Negative attitudes are left at the door and the competitive drive to WIN takes over. Everyone is built to serve each other.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
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