Contributed by: Julie Steck
Month in and month out, I think of what story to share on this blog space that will give you a peek behind the walls of this company into the heart of the man who directs it. Adam Steck, my husband, began Southwest Metal Systems out of a desire to provide a needed quality product in the marketplace. He’s always had a heart for the contractor, since he knows the trade well, and wanted to provide them with customer service and quality metal that he wished he had found with a supplier.
When Adam acquired Ameristall Horse Barns, that same passion flowed into making barns. Barns that people have dreamed of building for years.
Adam has many philosophies about business that are counter-cultural. He doesn’t allow the latest trend to dictate how he operates his business. Instead, he is governed by a set of principles that dates back to the beginning of time.
Adam is not shy about his faith in God and that he desires to build his company on Biblical principles. Those are often not the most popular, and they don’t dash out of the starting gate with booming success.
For the past two years, growth has been steady, but not speedy. Adam has sought to build a strong company internally before busting the doors off externally.
By promising product that can’t be manufactured in the requested time frame or compromising quality just to get it out the door, he would be doing a disservice.
He has hired quality Team Members to work together with him, people that share his vision for the company and where it’s headed.
So instead of saying what’s in the heart of my husband, I will let him talk today. Adam holds conference calls weekly that every Team Member joins in on. As I listened to this particular one, I quickly realized I needed to write this down. So I grabbed a pen and paper and listened, hit pause, wrote, listened again, hit pause and wrote until he was finished. His words resonated with me. They apply to this business, but also to everyday life. So, I’m sliding the stall door back just a bit to give you a true glimpse into the heart of the company. It’s not a sales pitch. But it’s truth.
Here is what he shared with his team that morning:
"I was listening to a podcast the other week and it referenced Jim Collins’ book called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. One of the things he talked about was how owners and founders of companies have to have this guttural, keep you up at night, passion to be a great company. That was one of the key factors that set apart ordinary companies from extraordinary companies. They have this crazy drive to build a great company.
As I’m sitting there, I want to believe that. I want to say I’ve got that. But in my mind I’m thinking “Hogwash!” I don’t have that. I don’t have that guttural drive to build a great company for a great company’s sake.
The way he described it was, it keeps you up at night, makes you anxious, that there’s something else for you to do. Sam Walton was that way. He was in his office between 3:30-4:00 a.m. every morning. Hours before any of his managers got there. He had that drive to build a great company.
But what’s the legacy? That’s just growth for growth's sake. Great for greatness sake.
What keeps me up at night is:
Am I being faithful to my wife and kids?
Am I serving the Lord diligently?
Am I using the time, talents and treasures that He’s given me in the context of this company?
Am I serving my team? Giving my whole heart to you guys each day and building you up?
Am I knowing God and making Him known?
That’s what makes greatness to me. It’s not that we build the biggest buildings, sell the best products, or set records on our product lines.
That’s all good stuff, stuff to be proud of, but it’s not why we exist.
Our stated purpose is to Honor God. Build Dreams. Spread Joy.
These buildings will fall down one of these days – hopefully a hundred years plus from now, but they will fall.
Metal will rot and ruin. It’s the intangible stuff we do each day – how we serve each other, our customers and family – that really matters.
My expectation is that each of us is diligent to seek out what the Lord has put before you. He’s given us 3 things: time, talent and treasures. We’ll all be held to account one of these days.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. But look for ways to serve today.
We’re all building a kingdom. What kingdom are you building?”