Serve Well, Lead Well

Contributed by: Julie Steck

This spring weather has caused some damage here in East Texas and the surrounding areas. A friend of ours had a tree fall on his house during one of the storms knocking over the chimney and caving in the roof. Thankfully, it just missed the bedroom where he and his wife were sleeping.

Adam went to visit the crash site. The tree that fell was a large post oak with branches full of green leaves. It looked perfectly healthy. Little did anyone know, it had been rotting away at the core for years, just waiting for the perfect storm to knock it over.

Life is full of the same analogies. People everywhere can appear healthy and full of fruit, but on the inside they are rotting at the core. It’s only a matter of time before someone or something breaks them open and the whole world finds out about the ugliness in the center.

Business owners are no different. In fact, we all have ugly centers. Some of us just aren’t afraid to talk about it.

On one of his weekly conference calls, Adam was talking to the Team Members about these issues and how he has struggled for many years with trust. 

“Why we struggled for so long was because my lack of trust was a decay to the company. It was a rotting point of my core.”

Adam says it was being vulnerable that started to heal that core. He likened it to a kid touching a hot stove. When you get badly burned, most of us decide never to touch a stove again!

But when we resort to that blanket reaction, we miss the beneficial functions of the stove. Being burned hurts, but we have to grow wiser in our use, not merely abstain from using it altogether. We miss out on home-cooked meals when we’re too timid to approach the stove again.

“Trust was that stove for me.”
Adam goes on to say, “We can have all the fruit we want on the outside, but at the core of us is where it really matters.
Finances are merely leaves on the tree. Marketing too, only leaves. 
Who are we at our core as a company? Our culture is the collective sum of who we are as individuals. So who are we as individuals? We can’t improve as a company until we improve as individuals.”

He said, “It would be like building a sandcastle to talk about anything else.”, and truly a mirage of thinking you’ve attained something only for it to vaporize and appear 100 yards further out. Adam’s banner statement is, “The stuff will burn, but the people we serve will last forever.”

He went on to ask his Team Members, “So what are things that can rot us at the core and leave us ready to topple over at any storm? We are the only thing that will defeat us. I see nothing on the outside that will.”

The Team Members on the call identified the areas of communication, attitude, negativity, not accepting responsibility, being afraid or timid to address something.

This is real stuff and applies to all of our lives.

Regardless of how or where you earn a living, who you are at the core matters.

Thank you, Adam Steck, for encouraging all of us to examine our core and                                    identify areas we may need to work on, so what we’ve worked so hard to                                     build doesn’t fall in on top of us while we sleep!