Through Hell and High Water
August 2, 2013
The flood is certainly one of the worst things our area has ever experienced. Some were hit far worse than others, but all of us felt the impact as our city was ravaged by forces we didn’t see coming and couldn’t do anything about. It was disheartening to hear about friends whose lives were financially devastated, to learn there were families who would never return home and businesses that will likely take years to rebuild. The effects of the flood created a financial blow that will be felt for a long time. In truth, it was for many nothing short of a disaster. But what happened after the flood is nothing short of a triumph.
I knew Calgarians and Albertans were tenacious and generous but I didn’t understand the extent to which those attributes were true until I saw them in action. Early on Monday June 24th a tweet went out asking for 600 volunteers at McMahon Stadium. By 10am there were 3,000 people in rubber boots asking, “What can we do?”. Kevin Crowe, Director of Cloud Services, relays his experience of working in a basement filled with water alongside 30 or so other people when an Enmax employee showed up looking for the homeowner. Of the 30 people in the basement, not one of them was the homeowner, and what’s even more astounding, not one of them knew the owner. That story isn’t an anomaly, I heard it over and over again. People’s homes were filled with strangers, doing hard manual labour in sewage filled basements for nothing. Outside their homes, strangers were coming by with dump trucks, Peter’s Drive-In, Tim Horton’s, port-o-potty’s, guitars, and alongside them were SAIT massage therapy students offering respite in the form of back rubs. No one was really in charge, definitely no one was being paid, and there was very little organization. Yet the results were nothing short of astounding. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t spend a day wading through sewage water for a thousand dollars, but give them the right reason and they’ll do it, with a smile on their face, for nothing. I always assumed people were motivated by the intrinsic rewards of working for something they believe in, but after watching our city spring into action in the days following the mass devastation of the flood, I am moved by the extent to which I now know that to be true.
Which got me thinking about Long View. What reason have we given our employees to believe in the work we’re doing? There are many answers to that question, but here’s the one I think matters the most. Our employees can believe in the work they do for Long View, because we believe in them right back. We have a shared vision based on belief. That’s not lip service, it’s not just something that gets said and swept aside. I can tell you unequivocally that is the truth. We honestly care. It’s in our founder’s DNA, which is why it’s in Long View’s DNA. It’s why we have CLPs, it’s why we have weekend long Christmas Parties, it’s why we go above and beyond for our employees in times of need, and it’s why things like the 20-Mile March are important. In order for Long View to continue being a great place to work, we have to keep growing, we have to keep serving our clients and we have to continue getting better. It’s work that requires each and every one of us, but it’s work we can do content in the knowledge that our efforts are not for ourselves alone.