By Kathleen Laney - March 2019
I switched CRM systems recently. My new one is called ‘Nimble.’ I thought the name was brilliant, though that isn’t the reason I made the switch. However, the name did catch my attention, because, of all things I think a parking professional needs to be today, is nimble.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, nimble is an adjective with two meanings:
Being nimble is an essential trait for any parking pro who wants to remain relevant in the rapidly shifting mobility landscape. But do take note that being a nimble professional is more than just coping. It is also more than just conforming. A successful career today requires you to actually adjust to and thrive with change, not just “get by.”
Here are tips, insight and advice on being a nimble parking professional.
Take responsibility. You are an adult and as such, your professional development is not the responsibility of anyone but yourself. Not your company, not your boss, not your mother, and not even a coach. It’s up to you and only you.
Recognize and accept you are in a perpetual state of Beta. There will never be a time when you are done growing or advancing yourself. If you want to continue moving forward, you must continue increasing your skills.
Be open-minded. Your ability to be quick and change direction easily requires a willingness to adapt and be agile. If you are willing to embrace change and remain open to new things, opportunities will present themselves. Say “yes” more and try new things, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
Be curious and keep learning. It can be a natural instinct to get a bit complacent once you land your dream job. This is ill-advised for a parking professional for a number of reasons. First, parking is evolving at such a rapid pace due to technological advancements and shifting societal mobility preferences. What you once knew quickly becomes outdated. Second, the more you know, the more opportunities that will present themselves. The key to keep learning is to ask lots of questions.
Don’t get too attached to a single idea. You are not your ideas. Be careful to not identify too closely with them. If you do, you are more likely to take offense when challenged and will be reluctant to pivot. And often being able to pivot is the key. After all, everyone has a Plan B. But it’s only the truly successful people who are prepared and able to implement it.
Practice self-awareness. Be cognizant and honest with yourself about your abilities, competencies and short-comings. What got you to where you are today probably won’t get you to the next rung up the career ladder. As you progress throughout your career, you should be moving from working harder to working smarter to working through others.
Don’t elevate the past or status quo artificially. Welcome change and don’t interpret the destruction of status quo as a negative. By altering your state of mind from seeing change as an undesirable thing, you will find that new ways of doing things aren’t so bad. Who knows, you might even get used to that new technology, process, or solution.
Approach every experience as a worthwhile experience. Change is happening at such a rapid pace that planning for your future as a parking professional may seem pointless without knowing what the industry will look like in five or ten years. But take each learning experience as building block that will help you build towards the future – even if you aren’t sure what that future is. You are still accumulating transferable skills in your current role, so make sure you are making the most of it.
Consider the big picture. This is especially true for parking professionals. Technology opens a million doors but unless it actually solves a business problem, it’s pretty pointless. How many times has an entrepreneur come out with a new parking app or technology idea that is a solution looking for a problem? Understanding “big picture” issues requires a lot of listening, caring and once again, asking questions, sometimes even dumb ones.
Invest in relationships. The parking world is pretty small and only gets smaller the longer you are in it. Over time, your colleagues become peers and in time your intern could even become your boss. Keep your relationships strong and do so by being true regarding your abilities and who you are. Being generous with your time to connect with others in parking will only have positive outcomes.
From here, it’s on you.
Learning to be nimble is the way to thrive in the ever-changing parking and mobility landscape. So, take heed, being nimble is everything.
This article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of Parking Today.