Does a rising tide REALLY raise all boats? When JFK speechwriter Ted Sorenson was looking for something to help sell the then senators economic policies in Massachusetts, he borrowed the concept from a local chamber of commerce. In fact, on the ocean a rising tide does raise all boats, but sometimes those not tethered properly will wind up on the rocks. After all, companies do fail in booming economies.
One might say “so what.” How do my actions affect the parking industry? I’m just a small cog in a big wheel. I’m not sure that’s true.
“Rising tide raises all boats” is more than a trite saying, it’s an attitude.
A friend of mine in the industry mentioned that his company attended a trade show that was out of our industry – “We got more leads than we get at the IPI, NPA, or PIE combined.” I said ‘Wow – I’m going to look into that and see if we can get others to participate in it.”
“NO!” he shouted. “We want to be the only ones there.”
His attitude was that he wanted to keep this trade show a secret. It might help his company, but he didn’t want to help the others. As it turns out, the trade show is huge. 50,000 people attend it from all over the world, representing thousands of potential customers. There is no way his small company could come close to servicing that segment of the market.
But if the idea was shared, a large number of companies in the parking industry would benefit. They would grow, the potential market size would increase, and everyone would profit, including my friend. The tide would raise all the boats that were in the water.
How do organizations that find you as a member affect the boats and tide? Do they look only inward, at their members and the programs they set up for the membership, or do the reach outward, to the entire industry, providing information, programs, and training that benefit everyone, not just their membership.
The British Parking Association runs two national programs that benefit the entire country. One, the ParkMark program, sets up criteria for a safe parking garage (lighting, security, cleanliness, etc) and then rates garages that want to participate. They also have a training program for traffic wardens (those who issue parking tickets) run by the organization, but taught by local junior colleges. In many local authorities, you can’t become a traffic warden in the UK without taking the course.
So what does all this have to do with tides and boats?
The BPA is prospering. They membership is growing. The industry sees that they make a difference. By reaching out and involving nonmembers, they increased their membership and at the same time are helping the industry as a whole. They work WITH other organizations and the media. They involved everyone in their events and are involved in others. When the local independent parking magazine, Parking Review, held its British Parking Awards, the BPA was one of the major sponsors.
What I want is for everyone in our industry to prosper – I want the organizations to have large memberships, the vendors to make big profits, and everyone to be successful.
To do that we need to work as a team. We need to involve all the People of Parking to inject life and energy into all aspects of the industry.
How? You say… How about the IPI and NPA have a meeting where the two groups talk about how to work together. Not combine the organizations, but how they can participate in common tide raising programs. There is no need to combine the two groups, they have different goals and different membership bases. But in the end, doesn’t each organization really have the same goals, to raise the tide, and all our boats floating in it.