Doing Business God’s WayAug 11, 2016 03:14PM ● By Jason Huddle
For a business to operate for over a century is a rare accomplishment, considering the technological changes, recessions and owner successions. Simon Roofing is part of this exclusive group of companies. For more than 116 years, this fourth-generation family-owned company is leading the way in the manufacturing, installation and service of high-quality commercial roofing solutions. Their work can be seen on local industrial plants, to government buildings, hospitals and bases, to big box retail chains and restaurants.
Steve Manser is the President of Simon Roofing and recalls beginning to work for the company while attending college. Yet, at the time he did not know he would be instrumental in ushering in the company’s national vision.
“It was 1989 and the owners came to me with an opportunity to help establish the very first location outside of the Youngstown, Ohio headquarters,” explained Steve. “We started an office in Charlotte and then in Raleigh, North Carolina. After seeing these locations experience rapid success, we continued our expansion plans.”
Simon Roofing saw an astonishing period of growth – from a single office serving one local area and one aspect of the business – to a national, multi-faceted company with hundreds of employees and 64 locations across the United States. Steve shares, “I feel truly blessed to have been part of this growth and transformation. Simon Roofing is all about helping manage and protect our customers’ buildings, no matter the size or location.”
But to lead a business, manage employees and provide consistent service excellence requires discipline and diligence. Even when a company is successfully hitting revenue goals, business owners are so busy with the day-to-day tasks, they can easily lose sight of the bigger picture.
“As President, you sometimes question whether you are making the right decisions and doing the best you can with the gifts God has given you. I have a responsibility to our people and to this enterprise. The reality is, these tough decisions affect the 600 people employed by Simon Roofing,” explained Steve.
He frequently shared his ideas for the business and struggles with friends, but knew he needed deeper insight, business guidance and balance.
In 2011 Steve found the support and counsel he was looking for through membership in a C12 Group –a roundtable forum focused on "helping Christian business leaders achieve excellence through best-practice professional development, peer sharpening, and learning with the eternal perspective in mind." Through this membership network of Christian business executives, Steve is surrounded by like-minded people that encourage and challenge him while holding him accountable to his goals. C12 members leave the office for one day each month and together work “on” their businesses, rather than “in” them. Even more, C12 provides Steve a confidential and safe environment where he can be honest and open about issues he faces at home and at work. Members pray together and provide ideas, lessons-learned and resources so each can be successful.
Inviting God Into His Leadership
Too often, Christian business owners and CEOs try to separate their business leadership from their Christian ministry, assuming they can do well in both without integrating them together. Steve credits his C12 group for giving him the confidence and courage to express his faith to employees. As a leader, much of our life’s investment is through the stewardship of the business God has called us to run for Him. C12 keeps members focused by holding them accountable for how they execute their leadership and impart His values and principles to others.
For Steve, being more faithful at work has made him outwardly more patient, more open, more forgiving and a better leader.
A few years back, Steve witnessed key executives slowly starting to add scripture verses to the company’s weekly sales reports and internal newsletters, which he believes has led to positive changes. “I feel that when I am more open about my faith, God and Christianity, people are more open about their faith in turn and by design, it creates a more trusting dialogue and work environment,” Steve observed. “My faith has allowed me to focus my attention more on the bigger picture of this business—the things that matter most."
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