A Rising Tide…


A Rising Tide…

 Does a rising tide really lift all boats? When JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen was looking for something to help sell the then-senator’s economic policies in Massachusetts, he borrowed the concept from a local chamber of commerce. In fact, on the ocean, a rising tide does lift 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.
“A rising tide lifts all boats” is more than a trite saying; it’s an attitude. 
A parking industry friend 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.” 
 “Wow,” I said. “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, that trade show is huge. Some 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 were 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 indeed 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, t 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. Its Park Mark program sets up criteria for a safe parking garage (lighting, security, cleanliness, etc.), and then rates garages that want to participate. The BPA also has 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. Its membership is growing. The industry sees that the association makes a difference. By reaching out and involving nonmembers, the BPA increased its membership and, at the same time, is helping the industry as a whole. The BPA works with other organizations and the media. It involves everyone in BPA events and is 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 parking 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? 
What about the IPI and NPA having a meeting where the two organizations talk about how to work together? Not combine the organizations, but how they can participate in common tide-raising programs. 
No, 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?
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by JVH
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