As a manager, business owner, and entrepreneur I am constantly looking for interesting things to read and new ways to motivate my team. I really enjoy fiction, Game of Thrones at the moment, but some of the most interesting and motivating things you can read are often biographies. The other day I was reading a story about Bruce Lee. For those of you who don’t know, Bruce Lee was an actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do Martial Arts Movement. He was widely considered to be the most influential marital artist of the 20th century. Suffice to say, Lee was obsessed with pushing himself both physically and mentally.
You can convey it over the phone, in person, by a facial expression, or by the tone of your voice. It can turn people off, turn them on, or send them running for the hills. It can be the difference between someone renting a unit at your facility or renting a unit at your competitor’s facility. It can be the difference between getting a positive review or having someone bash your facility on Facebook and Twitter. It can be the deciding factor in a promotion or other life changing event. Your happiness matters. It matters to your family, your customers, your coworkers, and even your dog.
Scientists have been researching everything from how to power our cars and homes to what makes us truly happy and productive. Recently scientists have confirmed what most hiring managers have known for a long time, that if you are happy and have a great attitude, you will be more successful at work and life. How many times have you shopped a competitor? Which competitor’s stick out the most in your mind? Yes, there are always the “super self-storage facilities” in every market. The stores with all of the bells and whistles, look like 5 start hotels, and give you a Ferrari when you rent a unit…but which ones do you truly remember? For me, it’s always the facilities that have the best managers. I can’t even count how many facilities I have visited in my career, but I do remember which ones made me feel at home, secure, and comfortable. I remember which managers smiled, treated me with respect, were polite, smiled, and took the time to understand my situation. I remember the managers that were happy and looked like they loved what they do, versus the one that couldn’t wait for me to leave so they could go back into their apartment.
I love to read, it’s a personal passion of mine, especially when it involves the discipline of Psychology. I am currently reading the book “The Happiness Advantage”, by Shawn Archor. Now this is not Pseudo Science, this was an actual study conducted at Harvard University in regards to our happiness. So what makes us happy? According to Mr. Archor, we have had the following statement hammered into us since elementary school “If you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, THEN you’ll be happy”. The argument against this line of thinking comes in the very next paragraph of Mr. Archor’s book “If success causes happiness, then every employee who gets a promotion, every student who receives an acceptance letter, everyone who has ever accomplished a goal of any kind should be happy. But with each victory, our goalposts of success keep getting pushed further and further out, so that happiness gets pushed over the horizon”. In a nut shell this entire process is backwards. The book goes on to state “we now know that happiness is a precursor to success, not merely the result. And that happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement-giving us a competitive edge”.
The research has shown that when you hire someone, only 25% of their job success will be educationally/technically related. So, for example if you hire an accountant only 25% of their job success will come from knowing how to complete an income statement or a balance sheet. The other 75% comes from their attitude, personality, and overall happiness. Just a little food for thought when you are looking to fill a position at one of your self-storage facilities. Even more food for thought when you are reviewing your facility’s overall performance. Unfortunately I don’t have enough space in this blog to review the book fully, but if you take one thing away for this discussion understand that happiness and attitude is a bigger precursor to success then knowing how to run your facility’s management software or cleaning a unit. Remember the manager of a facility is the single most important part of the operational success of your facility. He or she is not a robot. If you haven’t taken the time, sit down and get to know them, take them to lunch or a ball game. In the end it could pay more dividends then a bonus check.