Adapt your self-storage management skills to a changing industry


If you’ve read the news in the past year, you’ve probably heard of “The Great Resignation,” in which many people quit their jobs and many companies suffer from staff shortages. In such a competitive market, job seekers have found opportunities to learn new skills and advance their careers.

A lot has also changed in how self-storage works over the past couple of years. Companies and their teams have had to adapt, which is not always easy. Of all the traits and skills you need to succeed in a changing industry, agility and the ability to embrace change are among the most essential to possess. These will make you a professional and competitive candidate.

What it means to be agile

Being agile means you are open and ready to learn new things, take on new challenges, and make adjustments. It allows you to adapt to changing factors, conditions or environments. It is highly valued in almost every workplace, as every industry and business can and does experience disruption.

With technology impacting nearly every industry, the ability to pivot is more critical than ever. Many roles in self-storage operations are different today than they were 10 years ago, and 10 years from now they will be different again. Whether you’re an Assistant Store Manager or CEO, the ability to adapt to change is key to growth and success.

Consider how well you respond to new ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends and more. Possessing soft skills such as interpersonal communication, creative thinking, and problem solving are necessary to be agile. When you’re working on new projects, developing strategies, and achieving goals, showing that you’re motivated to try new things and learn new skills demonstrates your ability to be flexible.

Fundamental values

Many self-storage employers have guiding values ​​for their company and look for those same standards in their employees. They see them as essential to the success of the staff and the business. Here are five common principles that can help you be more adaptable and, therefore, a more desirable team member:

  • Integrity: You live your values, even when no one is watching. When you make mistakes, you own them. You never try to deceive.
  • Excellency: You rise to challenges, pay attention to detail and provide the best customer experience possible. You never stop improving.
  • Passion: You care about your customers and your colleagues. You are motivated to make your establishment or office a pleasant place to work.
  • Team work: You trust your teammates, support each other and hold each other accountable. No member is as intelligent as the collective. No one is indispensable and no one is better than someone else.
  • Innovation: You work for growth and improvement. You ask yourself “why”, you are forward-thinking and you take risks when it is appropriate. You expect to do better tomorrow than today.

Having values ​​you can rely on can help create a strong foundation for your work, which is essential for being adaptable. If you or your company don’t have clearly stated ideals, I recommend that you take the time to write some down.

Improve your agility

Identifying your personal values ​​and developing new skills will prepare you for future roles in the self-storage industry. Here are five ways to improve your agility:

1. Stay up to date. To be prepared for business changes, stay current and aware of company and industry policies, procedures and processes. Read self-storage news, follow industry leaders on LinkedIn, and network with other professionals in person or online. Ask your peers and experts general questions about their views on the future of self-storage.

2. Be prepared to grow. Be eager to learn and try new things, which can influence your ability to take on new challenges, find opportunities, and contribute to new projects. Your motivation to continually improve your skills can also demonstrate your commitment to professional growth. Stay curious and try to learn from everyone you meet.

3. Set ambitious goals. For example, if you think your responsiveness is poor or you tend to procrastinate when you have to complete difficult tasks, set a goal to be proactive and finish your projects ahead of schedule. Setting goals to work on different skills will help you grow professionally and improve your ability to deal with changes in the workplace.

4. Learn to embrace change. Know when you need to adapt at work. If you can embrace change, you can adapt to any circumstances that may come your way. Prepare for change and don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something. Ask questions, find joy in new experiences, and strive to understand that change is a constant in life.

5. Get out of your comfort zone. Ask for opportunities to work on new tasks and offer to take on additional responsibilities. Ask team members, supervisors, and collaborators for feedback on how you can be more agile. It may require a variety of skills combined, but becoming more well-rounded sets you up for future success.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once wrote, “Change is the only constant in life.” It was true in the 5th century, and it is true now. You never know when the next opportunity will come your way. Actively work to become more agile to prepare for self-storage career opportunities when they arise.

Tyler Jacobsen is senior director of talent acquisition at Extra Space Storage Inc., a real estate investment trust and self-storage management company. He joined the company in 2014 with over 10 years of experience in human resources and talent acquisition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource management from Utah State University. For more information send an e-mail [email protected].


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