Tag Archives: change

Changing the Culture of Parking Patrons

By Keith Kennedy, CAPP

After the course of many years and a consistent way of doing business, accepting changes can be challenging. The steadfast culture of how things are perceived  or how they “should be” is a roadblock that must be taken down. As new technologies come into play, organizations have to think about how they can help their patrons accept the cultural change that is happening.

My organization moved to more automated parking. This brought the need to see it from the patrons’ point of view. The culture that had been “stop at the booth and give the attendant money and exit” totally changed. The change will propel our organization into a much more flexible and efficient operation, but how do we change that old culture among our customers?

We understood that some patrons are not technology savvy and they were very used to the way things were. So, how could we help the patrons? What could we use that would add value and change that old culture? We simply used what we already had: great employees who already knew the customers. We repurposed our booth attendants to be true parking ambassadors, teaching and helping the patrons as they are experiencing the new culture of the parking. A new way of thinking helped everyone succeed with change.

Keith Kennedy, CAPP, is parking operations supervisor with the City of Durham, N.C.

A New Kind of Crisis Management

By Casey Jones, CAPP

Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” In spite of the tragedy and difficulty we currently face during this once-in-a-century health crisis, my optimistic nature sees hope (and not political cynicism) in what Emanuel was getting at, and I see it play out in organizations within our industry.

In weekly state and regional association virtual meetings, countless stories are told of how changes are being made to improve safety, reduce costs, and adjust policies and procedures to accommodate new customer needs in spite of–and to a large extent because of–the current health crisis. We have moved past any initial paralysis brought on by COVID-19 restrictions and we’re trying new things and succeeding. I was on a state association call recently and the discussion turned to a strategy one university was using to accommodate their permit holders. Previously the school had only offered annual permits but has expanded to shorter-term permits to allow more flexibility.

There are other examples as well, from moving to touchless and online payment systems to flexible permitting and renewal options, all of which consultants like me have been suggesting for years. So what’s different? COVID-19, of course. But understanding that changes are possible because of the pandemic won’t be enough to sustain them beyond the COVID-induced “pilot” phase. Many of the changes we’re making now we’ll want to keep in place in the future when we return to normalcy, and we should use this time to fully grasp why we’re able to make difficult but necessary changes to our programs. We need to dissect each decision to determine exactly what specific factors resulted in approval. Knowing this will help us sustain the positive improvements we’re making now and provide a roadmap for future program improvements.

Casey Jones, CAPP, is senior parking and mobility planner with DESMAN.

Stand Strong Even if You Stand Alone

person standing with shadow of strong personBy Tope Longe

The world has been rocked by unprecedented occurrence. The norm, as we know it, faltered. Many have been thrown into incomprehensible situations. Many more are likely to be.

Change in status quo. Transition too!

Transition is “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” Being in transition can be likened to a temporary existence in a place with the potential to propel to a bigger and better state or place. The adverse could also be the case. In a period of upheaval, such as the one in which we currently live, many are in transition. Many more will end up in transition. The comforting point to note is that transition doesn’t limit ability. It doesn’t reduce knowledge. It allows for growth and development through effective management and utilization of resources and skills at one’s disposal. The key is in the management of the situation.

Transition is no different from change. While no change is vastly preferable by many, change is inevitable; likewise transition. The success is in the management.

We are more adaptable than we perceive. Every being, every individual has the ability to manage change and progress to a new playing field. Yes, there’ll be nervous streaks—they come with the territory of stepping out of the known to the unknown. The immediate human reaction is to resist, especially when the change is done to us. But in today’s world, responsiveness to change is key. Change management is key to survival. How do we respond to the melting iceberg?

Tope Longe is a management consultant (in transition).


Stressing About Change? Try Breaking Down the Silos

By Cindy Campbell

Fact: Organizational change is inevitable and constant. We’re daydreaming when we entertain the notion that one day soon the pace of change will slow and we’ll be able to catch up. (Hint: The keyword of that last sentence was daydreaming.) Changes in policy, practice, services, purpose, personnel—you name it, there’s always an element of change.

The perception of constant change can negatively affect an organization’s ability to work as a cohesive team. To protect ourselves, we sometimes break into smaller, safer working groups or “silos.” Silo mentality happens when units within an organization stop sharing information with others in the same organization. Unit silos are frequently the outcome of organizational growing pains. They inhibit communication, reduce trust, affect morale, and generally make it harder to get the job done.

Recognizing the presence of work silos is a critical step in improving the work environment, but let’s be clear: it’s only identifying the symptom. Addressing the root cause of work silos takes time but is well worth the effort. A common contributing factor could be poor communication practices. Not sure where to start? Try facilitating group discussions that address recent organizational changes. While it’s easy for the group to focus only on the challenges they’ve experienced, make sure you also encourage identification and discussion of the advantages of and opportunities presented by organizational change.

Intellectually, we know that not all change is bad, but when we perceive it as a constant, human nature tells us to resist it. If we perceive it as “change for change’s sake” or mistakenly label all change as bad, we do ourselves and our organizations a giant disservice and add unnecessary stress to both the work environment and our life outside the office.

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist.

We Are Mobility

By Todd Tucker, CAPP

I’m going to write something radical: the parking industry doesn’t exist anymore.

Yes, you read that right.

But before you open your email to send me an angry note, consider this: How do you define the parking industry? We facilitate travel and transportation. We make people’s lives easier by giving them an easy place to store their vehicles near their destinations. Sure, the format in which we help may be a parking structure, but we are so much more now in the mobility landscape.

We are a mobility and transportation industry now. We are powerful–and right at the cutting edge of a technological revolution in which we must remain agile and think big to retain customers and stay relevant

Let’s look to history for lessons.

Rail was the most popular way to travel for years, but railroad companies experienced a major decline in the 1950s due to the growth of automobiles and air travel. Because they were singularly focused on rail, those companies neglected to see the bigger picture–that they were not just in the railroad business, they were actually in the transportation business. They didn’t innovate. They lost relevance and lost customers. When was the last time you opted to ride a train across the country instead of flying on an airplane?

Similarly, National Cash Register (NCR) was a top-four powerhouse of a company in the early 1900s and prevailed in the transactional-calculations machine business. In the 1950s, however, despite huge market dominance and what should have been a massive head start on the world, they almost went out of business due to a refusal to acknowledge and embrace the computer industry that is now ubiquitous. NCR barely recovered, but countless firms from the last century no longer exist today due to a failure to adopt technological change.

What is the point? Railroads and NCR both failed to adapt.

Connected mobility is here, connected vehicles are here now, autonomous vehicles are coming. Let’s not be afraid of change. Let’s work together and embrace our new world.

Todd Tucker, CAPP, is senior vice president, market development, with ParkWhiz and a member of IPI’s Parking Research Committee.