By EOS Worldwide
Steele Benefit Services is an Indianapolis-based benefits engagement, enrollment, and compliance firm that focuses on making benefits simple.
Wes Steele, President of Steele Benefits in Indianapolis, Indiana, has shown his willingness to work through the challenges that come with growing a company… and it’s paying off.
Recently, the Indianapolis Business Journal named Steele Benefits as one of the 25 fastest-growing companies in the Indianapolis area.
“We help employers go paperless, install technology, and give employees virtual tools to manage benefits. And so, for better or for worse — right time, right place, right now — our business is going crazy. In terms of sales, we’re about fifty percent ahead of where we were last year. Some of that is driven by things that we’re doing, but some of its just driven by the story of the day,” he says.
As Steele Benefits continues to grow, that growth has uncovered some issues for Wes that need to be resolved.
“We’re growing so fast that I don’t know how I would survive without EOS,” he says. “But I’m also, unfortunately, still at a point where I start my day at eight o’clock and I don’t turn the laptop off until six. Then I turn it back on at nine after the kids go to bed and it stays open until eleven. I even find myself opening it up again on Sundays to make sure I’m ready to go on Monday.”
As the saying goes, EOS is simple, but it’s not easy. And for Wes, one of the biggest challenges has been in letting go of the vine. Or in his case… ‘vines.’
FIRST STEP: LET GO OF THE VINE
Many times, businesses struggle to get to the next level because the business owner or leaders are simply not ready to “let go of the vine.” They’re unwilling or unable to delegate the roles and responsibilities that helped drive the business forward. But hanging on to the vine could cost a business dearly in terms of growth.
“We’re growing so fast that I don’t know how I would survive without EOS”
For Wes, he knew he had to let go, but at the end of the day, it came down to the ‘doing’.
Wes’s father, Mike Steele, started Steele Benefits back in 2000. As Mike moved into semi-retirement, Wes found himself in the Integrator, Visionary, and Sales Manager seats.
“I spent 80% of my time focusing on new sales,” Wes says. “It was a matter of balancing my time and getting everything done. I felt like I was stuck in a field of vines.”
Fortunately, when EOS came along, Wes was ready to put the system through its paces.
GETTING SOME HELP FROM OUTSIDE
Wes says he’s always been open to ideas he comes across that could benefit the company. So when he received the book Traction through one of his business partnerships, it wasn’t a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘how.’
He decided to start the process by self-implementing EOS. Not long after, he figured he could pick up some practical tips by bringing in Certified EOS Implementer® Scott Abbott for a 90 Minute Meeting. After listening to Scott, the decision was made to use EOS not only to help the company, but also to help develop the leadership team. Instead of just getting a few tips from Scott, Wes decided to hire him.
“Honestly,” he says. “Some of the revelations that we came to with Scott, we would not have come to on our own. It just seems to me that if, as a company, you’re at a place where you feel you need to blow up your management processes and look for a better way to do things, then self-implementing kind of goes against the “let go of the vine” philosophy. It’s been a great investment for the business for the long term and I’d say just having that third-party perspective is worth its weight in gold.”
PUTTING THE ACCOUNTABILITY CHART TO WORK
With Scott’s help, Wes was able to work with his team to refine the company Accountability Chart.
“I’m a big believer in right people, right seats,” he says. “I’m still managing our sales team, but I’ve discovered through this process that I really am not a people leader so much as I am a big deal hunter and idea person, and that leads us down a path where we need a lot of other people to do things that need to be managed.”
“I knew for a long time that I needed help,” Wes says. “It’s just not an easy thing for me to let go unless I know something is going to be absolutely taken care of by the people I’m letting go to. Without EOS, I might have made the mistake of trying to run this business myself for however long we were in existence. Of course, that wouldn’t have been fair to me and my family and it also wouldn’t have been fair to the company.” “There’s definitely been a process of self-discovery for me through this EOS journey,” he says.
LETTING GO TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE BRINGS PEACE
Rising to his commitment to let go of the vine, Wes recently hired an integrator. He purposefully gave his integrator permission to check him in private and also to let Wes know when it was time to back off so he could do his job.
Wes had to put in purposeful effort to let go because it wasn’t coming naturally. But he quickly discovered that by trusting his integrator and just letting him take off and do many of the things Wes was used to doing –like running the Level 10 Meetings – he was able to breathe easy knowing his integrator could handle it.
“Without EOS, I might have made the mistake of trying to run this business myself for however long we were in existence.”
“I didn’t realize how freeing it was going to be,” Wes says. “There’s a certain peace that comes with letting go, especially when you have confidence in who you’re letting it go to. And I use the word ‘freeing’ because it really is freeing. Even before EOS, my goal has been to work myself out of a job and now I’m doing that, little by little. I think the idea that I can get there someday is realistic. Letting go of the vine will allow me to do that.”
But even before that day comes, Wes is already taking advantage of some of the benefits of that new-found freedom.
“My thirteen-year-old daughter has given me my last two haircuts,” Wes says. He pauses for a moment then laughs. “And after the last one, she said, ‘Dad you got a lot of gray up here.’”
And his laptop was closed the entire time.