A Storage Operator Worth His Salt Never Stops Learning
The city of New Orleans holds a special place in my heart, and so it's with great relish that I watch the HBO series "Treme" when it airs weekly. I enjoy catching glimpses of real-life places, events and people I know from trips to the city over the years. For instance, the show occasionally highlights one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Bayona, featuring Chef Susan Spicer. It's exciting to be watching a scene and see something in the background that triggers a memory.
In a recent episode, accomplished trombonist Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce), who supplements his performance income by teaching music to a high school marching band, has an epiphany during a conversation with one of his students. He tells her, "There isn't a musician who's worth a damn who ever stops learning," to which she replies, "You too?" Even proud, self-assured artiste Batiste concedes.
But that's true for every consummate professional, right? To be really good at what we do, whether it's running a self-storage facility, publishing a magazine, advising people on finances or running a cash register, we must continue to learn new things and develop our skills. Otherwise, we stagnate, which does no good for our self-actualization or the business we represent.
Training is paramount for new self-storage employees. Industry coaches will tell you that to be victorious in your business staffing, you must look for certain traits and talents inherent in new hires; but then there are skills that can and must be taught. For example, you can't teach someone to have integrity, but you can teach them to effectively close a sale. You can't teach them to be affable, but you can school them on customer-service methods.
So we know training is key for new facility managers, but what about those who have been in the trenches for a while? It's critical for them, too, and perhaps even more so. The business is advancing, and with it, the abilities each employee must master. Day-to-day operation is more complex. If you're a manager of X years in the business, are you certain your knowledge base is sufficient? Are you doing everything you can to enhance the business, or are you potentially stalling progress with outdated policies and methods? If you're an owner, answer these same questions about yourself and your staff.
It doesn't matter how long you've been in the storage biz ... To enjoy continued success or take your game to a new level, you've got to keep learning. So here are a few resources that will help you grow as a professional, a team and a business as a whole:
- Training for Success: Cultivating Talent in Self-Storage Facility Managers
- 10 Things Every New Self-Storage Manager Should Know: Advice From Deep in the Trenches
- Who's Your Self-Storage Coach? Ideas for Getting Industry Learning
- The Importance of Having a Trainer for Your Self-Storage Company
Seminars, Webinars, Education Videos/Audio
- Self-Storage Associations
- ISS Article Library
- Digital Issues
- Self-Storage Talk Online Community
This industry also has a wealth of trainers and consultants available for hire. You can search options in the Manager Training & Evaluation and Operational Consulting sections of the ISS Buyer's Guide.
Do you have a great training resource worth sharing? It doesn't even have to be industry-specific. It might relate to sales or marketing or technology or any number of general professional skills. It might be a webinar, book, blog or online class. If you have one, please post it to the blog.
I'd also love to hear about a lesson you recently learned on the job. What fresh skills or tips have you picked up lately?
(You can also just give a shout out if you love "Treme"!)
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