Bob Steffes’ Bedrock Principles Have Ensured Company’s Success
When Bob Steffes began auctioning cattle in the 1960s, he quickly realized that success depended on shooting straight with people – telling the truth and delivering on what he promised.
Today, Bob is 81, and he still helps out around the Steffes Group, which still operates on the principles Bob lived and taught in those earliest years. In recent years, we’ve summarized those core principles in our brand promise:
1. Strive every day to be the best
2. Embrace and drive change
3. Create fun, enjoyment, and a sense of family in an open-minded environment
4. Pursue learning and growth
5. Say what you do and do what you say
6. Assemble outstanding people who do outstanding things
7. Provide the right tools for the right job
8. Under promise and over deliver
9. Be passionate, determined and humble
10. Tell the truth, never lie, even if it's to your own detriment
Early in his career, Bob asked a cattle buyer for advice. “There was another auctioneer around that was using some methods that weren’t entirely honest. He said just watch that guy and do the opposite,” said Bob.
Today, that commitment to telling the truth is woven throughout the company’s Brand Promise.
Bob takes pride in the Steffes Group’s expansion over the years. He said a major turning point came in 1980 when he and son Scott (now president of the company) realized that they had to expand the company’s footprint.
“In the area, I’d been working, we were running out of people to sell to,” said Bob. “Scott recognized this especially, and that has been a key to much of our growth,” he said.
Scott Steffes says his father’s early recognition of the importance of integrity has served as both inspiration and roadmap for the company today.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better foundation. Sometimes when you’re this close to something, it’s easy to miss it. That’s why we’ve spelled everything out, and why we make sure all our representatives and employees understand it. Our methods have evolved with technology, but the things principles I learned as a kid and in the years working with my father are most important things – striving to be the best, hiring great people, providing them the right tools, and all the other traits. I believe this, more than anything else, accounts for our success,” he said.