When we do the same thing too long


When we do the same thing too long

All change is good!  Yes, I know, you think I’m nuts. 

I had a friend many years ago who was superintendent of schools in a small country town. It has two elementary schools, a Jr hi and a high school.  One day, without any notice, he took the well liked principal at one of the elementary schools and switched him with the well liked principal of the other. All hell broke loose.

They were storming his office.  Teachers complained, parents complained, kids complained. Everyone complained. He held his ground. Six months later, all had to agree that both schools were better.

How could that be? These two had similar qualifications, were similar in virtually every way.

My friend told me that people in the same position year after year get stale. They continue to do a good job, but not a great job. He claims that’s true of everyone and everything. All change is good.

I wonder if its true in the parking business. Does it make sense for a parking operator to change garage managers frequently (at least every couple of years.)  Does it make sense for area and city managers to change, even when they are doing a good job. Why is it that in almost every case, when a new operator comes in to a garage, the revenue goes up? And five years later, when that operator is replaced, the revenue goes up again. It keeps happening over and over.

I find this true with teachers, managers, certainly politicians, and even those working on "the line." Airline pilots understand that the longer they are on the job and the more experience they have, the more dangerous they become.  They become complacent. Smart airlines move their crews to different aircraft, different routes, and have them work with different people. It keeps everyone sharp.

Am I suggesting that all owners fire their operators today. Of course not. But to keep everyone sharp, some changes might be in order. Perhaps the operator could stave off an owner driven change by making it first. Change the person that takes care of the customer. Change the person who runs the facility. Change Change Change.

I know a fellow who just took over a garage in a large city. The numbers are skyrocketing. The former operator was a good one, in fact one of the best. But they had little competition and had been running the place since Adam fell for Eve. The new guy simply looked around and saw a lot of business that had been unnoticed. I wonder what would have happened if the manager worked for the old operator had been changed a year or two before. That operator may have still been there.


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John Van Horn

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