Tag Archives: mentoring

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Supervisor coaching employeesBy Jennifer I. Tougas, CAPP, PhD

In emergency management circles, it’s called a “hot wash.” In the Army, it’s called “lessons learned.” In manufacturing, it’s called “continuous improvement.” What is it? It’s a process for reflecting on a process or event; capturing the good, the bad and the ugly; and taking corrective action to improve the process and avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Creating a culture of continuous improvement is critical to the success of an organization.  If we merely maintain the status quo, we fall behind because the world is constantly changing around us. Assumptions that worked one year may fail the next. Personnel changes mean knowledge and skill levels of our team change. If we are not vigilant, we fall behind as well. Without effective corrective action, operations are destined to repeat the same mistake again and again. Service to customers falls short of expectations and leads to frustrations at best, or loss of customers at worst.

As a leader, it’s important to build trust within your team so you can have honest discussions to identify problems and determine root causes. Sometimes, these can be uncomfortable conversations, particularly if someone made a mistake. There’s a balance between discipline, accountability, and coaching that allows lessons to be learned from those mistakes –and those lessons keep the organization moving forward. Forward progress is needed to make improvements.

How does your organization deal with problems? Do you find ways to reflect upon lessons learned and make changes to improve “next time?” To avoid repeating costly mistakes, develop a culture of continuous improvement within your team!

Jennifer I. Tougas, CAPP, PhD., is director of parking and transportation services at Western Kentucky University.


Making Time for Mentoring

parking, mentoring, mentor By John Mason, CAPP, PMP, QIR

To be a mentor is more than just leading or teaching someone. If you are the mentor, you need to make time for the other person. There’s a requirement on the other end, too, for the mentee to make time in their life to be mentored. It’s a two-way street in which both parties make a place in their life for the other.

This holds true professionally or personally. There is someone with a desire to learn or do something they can move toward though a mentoring relationship, and there is another person with a desire to teach or just have a companion with a common interest.

No matter which end you’re on, you should respect and appreciate the fact that someone has made time in their life for you. You only get one pass-through and time is the most precious commodity. Make the most of your time together: Know what you want to cover, as well as how you are going to cover it. You need to not only be efficient but make it interesting as well. If it is a success for everyone, the relationship extends.

John Mason, CAPP, PMP, QIR, is project manager with HUB Parking Technology.