Diego Ysita
Chief Executive Officer
Expert Contributor

Strong Purpose Helps Navigate Life-Changing Events

By Diego Ysita | Wed, 07/27/2022 - 16:00

The pandemic drastically transformed the type of decisions that business leaders must make. From one moment to another, our decisions were not only about the business, but also about taking care of the health of our collaborators, clients and suppliers: opening or closing our doors, working remotely, enabling tools, challenging our strategy, deciding what to communicate to clients and implementing protocols in our properties to take care of people, among other decisions. With no background or previous experience to make these decisions, it became the professional and personal challenge of our lives.

At U-Storage, we decided to make the situation count and go on the offensive. As soon as the pandemic began, we launched a strategic plan to define goals and review elements of our own culture. We put on paper a purpose with which we had empirically guided ourselves over the years: "We don't just rent spaces; we accompany people during their life transitions."

This statement represents a great responsibility for us, both as a company and as individuals. Going forward, every decision must be consistent with our purpose to the point it becomes impossible to ignore it.

Regarding our clients, the main purchase trigger in our industry is often linked to an important life event (relocation, entrepreneurship, changes in the way we do business, travel, divorce, or death). Consistent with our purpose and assuming the responsibility that it represents, we took specific actions:

  1. Treat the client with empathy: During decisive moments of their lives, people experience different emotions and have certain expectations.
  2. Genuinely understand needs: Ask the right questions to provide the best space solution, meeting current needs and anticipating future needs.
  3. Accompany our clients during their stay: Maintain close contact to ensure that if their needs change, we adjust accordingly.
  4. Innovate and be flexible: develop products or services that add value to each stage of our customers’ lives.

We have achieved much more than renting spaces: Helping elderly people move their goods to a storage unit that requires less walking; listening to people who had ended their marriage and needed something more than just a space; approaching each client who required it during the pandemic to make plans together and help them move forward. These are just examples of the satisfaction we get from our work.

Our associates also go through life-changing events. We want our decisions around growing a company to make them and their families proud:

  1. We foster personal growth with programs like U-Storage University, where best practices and success stories are shared. For instance, guards held discussions with a manager who began his career as a guard and shared his experience with them.
  2. During the pandemic, we prioritized the health of our collaborators. As an essential activity, we never closed but we reduced our number of operating personnel without eliminating positions by implementing rotation schemes. We provided COVID-19 tests at the slightest symptom and isolated people for more days than recommended.
  3. We know our team closely, which helps in making decisions that improve their lives and that of their families. We are looking to relocate ops staff to properties close to their homes because we believe this will give them more quality time with their families.

The results of these efforts are reflected in almost zero personnel turnover in corporate and property management. There is a high sense of belonging and alignment with the values ​​and purposes of the company.

Finally, we are aware of the impact we have on the communities where we are present. We work to transform communities where we are present, into better communities.

We leverage our infrastructure to lead social programs through our foundations. Thanks to our presence in multiple locations across Mexico City, we make it easy for people to donate products to causes they believe in, such as toys for children with cancer, personal hygiene products for homeless people, kibble for a dog shelter, among others.

Leading with purpose has not only helped us successfully navigate one of the most difficult times in our history, but it has also helped us stay alert in times of great uncertainty. Going forward and being consistent with this purpose, we have defined key projects in areas such as technology (efficient processes), customer experience (improve hiring and use of warehouse times), security (being leaders in technology, protocols and security tools at our properties), strategic growth (anticipating urban trends and being aware of the impact on our planet) and our people (leadership in HR to continue building a culture of sustainable success).

Photo by:   Diego Ysita