Counting Cars

Counting Cars

Here we are, it is Monday, and you can tell by the background. I’m still thinking about beaches and summertime, and enjoying my summer. I hope you are too. It has been an amazing ride; summer has moved so fast. We’ve got so much growth, and doing so many different things and stuff, but we’re making some progress. It’s steady and sometimes it seems way overwhelming. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of you. Especially many of our leaders that just keep coming to mind over and over and over.

Today’s Monday Message is about being invested. And I want to tell you guys a little story about something I did years ago. I put this together, this concept, and it has helped team members across the board. We have so many new team members, so I thought I would share it with you today again. It’s called “Do You Count Cars?” I put together a whole memo on this. I’ve taught this in training class and so on and so forth, and what it means is about counting cars. It’s not just counting cars, and I’ll explain that.

I use counting cars as a metaphor. As a way of thinking about our investment and how we do our job.

Most of you know by now that as you’re doing your rounds every 10-15 minutes or so, you’re making an entry. And you’re being valuable because nothing less will do. You’re documenting information into your activity log, and that activity log goes to the client. The client can see the amount of value or the lack thereof that we are providing on a minute-by-minute basis. When you have large gaps, hour gaps, multiple minute gaps, and bad things happen somewhere on the property. We find ourselves being the brunt of not doing our job very well. So rather you get distracted by something else, and many times that can include sleeping, that can include zoning out. That can just include reading a book or trying to do homework, or it could include watching TikTok.

Those kinds of things take our distraction and move us from focusing on our job.

Many times in the past, I’ve had officers, all the way back to my military career, where I would have corporals or I would have Lance Corporals, Privates First Class, and they’d be writing in a logbook. “Post all secure.” That would be it, “Post all secure,” every line, every 15 minutes like clockwork. The words “post all secure” say absolutely nothing. It means nothing. It means you looked up from a book and you wrote it down.

As a matter of fact, I’ve caught people writing down entire hours every 15 minutes, writing down an hour’s worth of stuff or three hours or six hours. I had one guy who literally wrote down the entire day. It was 10 o’clock in the morning when I inspected his post, and the entire day was documented and put away. That’s right, he did his entire day. 6 p.m., he was getting off work, and by 10 AM he had already logged every single thing that he was going to do. His breaks were in there, his post patrols were in there, his bathroom checks were in there, and everything was logged in. He did it already.

One of the reasons that we use a timestamp and photo time stamp and so on and so forth and all of our activities at a lot of our posts is because it makes it harder for you to just pretend like you’re doing something and then spend the rest of your day doing nothing. So, what is Counting Cars?

Well, I’ve had officers from time to time ask me, “So what am I supposed to do? Right, my patrols are the same, there’s nothing else new to say.” And I said, “Well, on certain properties, and we did a lot of hotels, I said, “Well, you got this big huge parking lot and have you said, ‘Row one, there are 17 cars.’ Alright, if you counted 17 cars in row one and you said that there were no visible signs of damage,

What does that say to the client?

Well, you took the time to walk down and count the cars. And then you said row two, row three, row four, Parking Lot F, Floor three, right, parking garage level three. 19 cars in the parking lot, us, no visible signs of damage at this time, no persons in the area. Period. Now that says that you were on the third floor. That says that you patrolled the third floor. That says that you counted the vehicles and looked in the vehicles.”

I had one girl years ago, Anna, she was patrolling a parking lot, and probably had about 40-50 cars. There was a hotel in downtown Portland, and in that 40-50 cars on a nightly basis, she would find five to six cars unlocked, unsecured, totally unsecured. And she would go in, she would get the access number for what car belonged to what room, and she would do this early in her shift. She would then call up to the room and say, “We found your car unlocked.” You might want to secure it.”

Or she would see in the back seat an iPad or a Nintendo or something like that, and she would say, “I noticed that you had value, golf clubs in your back window. You might want to remove those. Those are enticing somebody that would just break your window and steal your property. You might want to take care of that.”

And I was always amazed at how many times she would get noticed in kudos from the client because of that diligent, hard-working attitude and investment that she had.

Now I had another property that had up to 200-300 cars. It was a four or five-acre property, eight-story building, and the officers who worked there could never locate unlocked cars. As a matter of fact, they never really found anything ever. But they had their patrols written down as, “Patrolled the parking lot, patrolled the parking lot, patrolled the parking lot.” Sounds a lot like “post all secure,” “post all secure.”

Now you tell me scientifically, right, scientifically statistically if one officer in one area of Portland can patrol 40-50 cars and find five to six every single shift unlocked and unsecured, how can somebody that patrols two or three hundred cars not find them unlocked or unsecured? Find at least a similar number, 10 or 15 percent of the cars unlocked. They should be finding 25-30 cars unlocked if they were paying attention. And that’s the difference.

Our investment makes a difference.

People like Anna grow and thrive in this industry and make the clients feel protected, make the people feel protected, make the guests write comment cards. It’s people like Anna they get gift cards, it’s people like Anna that get the wheel spins. It’s those kind of things that focus on paying attention and doing the job. One night, Anna found and noticed that there was a gun underneath somebody’s seat, notified the owner. Right? We have a gun not on the streets of Portland because Anna was paying attention that night. It’s that kind of attention to detail, Counting Cars gets you. You take that Counting Cars concept to other things in the building, other areas of the building. You’re noticing certain kinds of