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Building Your Perfect Company Culture: Insider Advice for Self-Storage Owners

By Don Clauson Comments
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This book became central to our culture. All team members received a copy, and every one of our facilities was given a betta fish as a mascot. We even set aside part of our meetings to recognize members who went above and beyond their job duties using principles taught in the book.

Make It Yours

By early 2014, our company culture was fairly developed, but we had started to lag. With all the growth we were experiencing, we had lost focus. It was time to recommit to our culture, regain trust and openly communicate who we are, who we wanted to be and how we wanted to get there.

Later that year, the executive team took a retreat to identify our core values. We decided our dream and vision was to be supporters of a more awesome life. We we wanted to come together and make the world a better place by celebrating diversity, working hard and supporting the communities in which we operate. We created the STRAT acronym, which became part of our company name. It stands for:

  • Strengthen our communities
  • Treat others the way they want to be treated
  • Represent with integrity
  • Accomplish a wow
  • Take it to the next level

This commitment to values is displayed in all our facilities. Our hiring process has been developed to the point that every applicant is inundated with information about the company culture from day one.

By giving our team a framework and letting them interact with it in their own way, members can gravitate to different core values. In this way, they can let their personality shine and further take ownership on their own terms.

Grow the Next Generation of Leaders

A head football coach is a lot more effective if he has coordinators who understand, contribute, believe, buy into and act on the plan he’s created. Those coordinators succeed if the players under their guidance do the same. When the team understands the plan and can carry it out without the help of the head coach, that’s a sign of a high-performing team.

Developing our company culture has been much the same. My focus is now on developing our next generation of leadership. We’ve created a culture and structure that gives our team direction, ownership, accountability and pride.

More than ever, we look for attitude, passion, positivity and genuine interest in the people we hire. Everything else can be taught. The beauty in our culture is that anyone can contribute. It doesn’t matter where you are in the company, there’s someone out there you can help in some way. Your voice will be heard.

The truth is developing company culture is an endeavor that never ends. The benefits you generate will likely creep into other areas of your life. I’ve often seen team members find success at work that sparked improvement in their home and personal lives as well.

There are few greater honors than providing the self-storage community with the same guidance that was provided to me. I hope you found my experience useful and are ready to build something great!

Don Clauson is CEO of Strat Property Management Inc., a property-management company based in San Diego that operates under the StaxUp Storage brand in California, and Lockaway Storage in Texas. For more information call 619.295.2211; visit

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