Four Things My People Need to Know

Our CEO, Steve Crawford, is currently pursuing his Masters in Theology at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR). In his New Testament class, Professor Spencer tasked the students to write a paper on four things they feel their people need to know or could learn from this course. One of Steve’s objectives is to ensure that all of us at The Main Street Group are different from the average financial services firm, and, as individuals and as a company, we are constantly growing. Please enjoy Steve’s essay below.

Since I am not a member of the clergy or involved in the leadership of a church (God forbid), “my people” consist of those around me who see my choice to pursue this journey in some measure of humor, wonder, envy, respect or indifference.  In order of preference, I would list “my people” as:

  • My staff and associates at The Main Street Group
  • Our clients of The Main Street Group
  • Potential clients or associates of The Main Street Group
  • The allied professionals with whom we must interact

The first thing any of these groups needs to know is that I am deadly serious about doing well in this and subsequent courses.  This is not a folly, but a search for knowledge.  My MSG associates have long suffered under my tyrannical insistence that everyone must be studying something, whether it is the pursuit of another license, attainment of a new skill, professional designation or educational accomplishment.
They KNOW, as demonstrated by my involvement in this course that if a 64 year old man can embark on another educational pursuit, then excuses for not learning are hollow and unacceptable.
The second thing, especially, our clients must know is that I have a relentless desire for improvement.  Whether a theology degree makes sense to them is irrelevant to me.  They need to check their prejudices and limitations “at the door”.  Because they may have sworn off the learning process after high school or college is not my problem.  They need to know from this course and others to follow that I will excel in all areas and those areas may not be stocks, bonds and mutual funds.  They need to remember my/our pursuit for enlightenment should they want to compare us to other firms.
To that end, so many clients judge their advisors on the value of their last recommendation.  They lose sight of the value of a solid investment philosophy, fueled by a learned and ethical strategy.
The third thing, especially, potential clients or associates of TMSG must know is that a Christian and ethical approach to building a firm is ever present.  New associates do not need to worry about greed or deception on our part.  What we promise is what we will deliver.  Their clients do not need to worry about our taking advantage of them.  The Golden Rule is always the captain of our ship.
The fourth thing, especially, our professional associates must know is that my studies in this curriculum translate to more open, thoughtful and ethical transactions with them.  They can begin to view us as partners and not vendors.  Hopefully, this vast arena of very callous “product pushers” will learn to give us the complete truth about their financial products / solutions or give us the benefit of never seeing them again.
In summary, “my people” need to admire our pursuit of knowledge, be thankful they have learned advisors (or leaders), perhaps question where they may be on the road to meet The Father, compare their possible lethargy and indifference to my enthusiasm for improvement and be “damn glad” they have us to guide them toward the future.
Even more important than all I have said above is my desire both as an individual and a firm to be “the good Samaritan”.  We do some of our client’s taxes and I routinely see in their charitable receipts, for example, $ 300 to a church, $ 25 to AmVets, $ 50 to Meals on Wheels or $ 50 worth of junk given to Goodwill.  I call this “conscience giving”.  In short, you believe that throwing a few “bones” to the poor makes you a good citizen.
Our level of giving is specific, measurable and rewarding to us and the recipient.  Hiring someone who has no job is initially a gift, but real giving occurs when you train and nurture them, improving their lives, giving them the strength to believe in themselves again and finally seeing a look of pride on their face.
These people need to know from any course I take at BTSR that I believe in what I am doing and I will not let them down.  Their belief in me is my gift.
-Steve Crawford, CEO

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