Choose kindness By Shawn Conrad, CAE

One way I like to stay on top of things is to follow trends. I especially like to watch how issues are trending throughout the year. Current industry issues like Complete Streets, Vision Zero, regulating TNCs, or combating disabled parking  abuse are trending in many municipalities.  But I also follow trends in technology, sports, politics, travel, business, consumer attitudes, investments,  and even in the entertainment  business. Don’t judge me on that last one.

Following trends is more than just having things to talk about at work functions or family gatherings. I like the feeling of learning new things and researching items I know very little about to better understand why they’re gaining traction–though at times, some trends seem like the proverbial flavor of the month and can disappear as quickly as they appeared.

Lately, one trend that seems to be getting a lot of attention is kindness. There may be several reasons for kindness’s popularity but I’m seeing kindness trending in publications, blogs, TED Talks, social media, and even at the end of national newscasts. Acts of kindness seem to be a focus everywhere we turn.

Recently, I picked up a golf publication to find a feature article on golf’s kindest players. Players and many other golf industry employees measured how golfers treated each other, and branched out to the kindness of clubhouse employees, equipment manufacturers, sales reps, and even groundskeepers. Essentially, they were seeking those who displayed kindness when they weren’t on camera or in front of an audience. The magazine article mentioned that acts of kindness in golfing circles are trending up.

My hope is that parking professionals, especially parking enforcement officers, will be on the receiving end of the kindness trend as they go about their daily responsibilities. While parking professionals provide a  valuable service, interactions with customers can at times be trying–even unkind. It may be difficult to be kind to someone who is irate, but as history has it, Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” And it may even be contagious!

It’s cool to be kind–that’s a trend we should all follow.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.