Yellowstone as a Metaphor for Parking and Life
Jill and I just finished the last episode of “Yellowstone,” and we’re hooked! I think my brother-in-law, Justin, said it best as he described what hooked him – “there’s always something going on at The Yellowstone!” No truer words have been spoken.
And that got me thinking about why
the series captured our attention. It wasn’t one reason.
The avenues that led us to binge until obscene hours of the night, many times on a “school night” were myriad. We could start with the time-honored tale of the struggle against progress. Or a promise passed down from one generation to the next, that pitted the matriarch’s word from the deceased father against his children’s business sense and better judgement.
Given the familial nature of parking, one can imagine that promises have been made many times, as parking operations have passed from one generation to the next. The next matriarch promising to preserve the family business, while facing the daunting challenge of keeping up with the times and resisting the lure of industry consolidation.
As the parking world modernizes, parking operators have the difficult task of choosing technology, at a singular point in time, knowing full well, if the solution they choose doesn’t keep up, their operations will require additional investment. Any company can say their technology will keep up, but talk is cheap.
How is an operator supposed to make these challenging decisions? It’s been my experience that this is where relationships and trust come into play. I’ve seen it time and again how much operators rely on their vendors to be the experts and to help them troubleshoot issues when they arise in their garages. In the end, operators rely on companies with whom they’ve done business in the past, and who have a demonstrated a track record of keeping their word.
That is quintessential John Dutton: staying true to his word and making things right even if it takes extreme measures to get there. Certainly, we don’t need to go to the extremes that the ranch did to keep our word, but the point is the same. When you’ve made a commitment, back it up.
Without fail, “backing it up” means people doing real work to accomplish a commitment. We’ve all struggled to find good people who want to come to work every day and do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. The Duttons once again go to extremes to find trustworthy people, then even greater extremes, to keep their loyalty.
We work hard to find people who want to do a good job. We certainly don’t brand them, but we do try our best to embody and “imprint” our core values on them because we know when we live our values, our customers will be happy with the result. As in “Yellowstone,” we believe in second chances, too.
Giving people second chances is in our DNA at Parker. We want to believe that individuals can rise to the occasion when given a second chance. The job won’t get any easier, but when second chances are extended, there is a genuine cheering section for that individual to get back in and do well. I’m sitting in the front row of that section! It is all about being tough, yet tender. That’s the best part of the Yellowstone story.
Finally, I think the last reason the show held our attention is because we got invested in it people. We wanted to know what would happen when Beth lost it again or if Jimmy really could become a cowboy when he got shipped off to the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas. As we head into “parking show season” this summer, it’s going to be great to connect with all our colleagues and customers around the U.S.
Once again, we’ll have the opportunity to catch up face-to-face, reinforce commitments made and perhaps even add to our list of customers. It will be an awesome opportunity to connect in a way that we can’t connect virtually. We’ll create and deepen relationships in uniquely human ways. (The same way they did for hundreds of years on the ranch!) “Yellowstone” may not be everybody’s cup of tea, the same way parking isn’t for everybody. It takes a special person to tame a wild horse and it takes special people to do the unforgiving work of making sure our customers have the smoothest parking experience. I can’t wait to see you special parking people at the next show – safe travels!