There is an old Islamic Proverb, “A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.” It seems so fundamental that the world is made up of many different parts with unique qualities – whether we’re considering people, geographies, animals, etc. True diversity is at the core of each and every executive search project. While a lot of folks talk today about diversity, equity, and inclusion, far too many of us forget where the concept of diversity “Genesis-ed” from and what these terms and the overall institution of diversity are all about.
Stephen R. Covey (best-selling author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, which has sold more than 40 million copies (and counting) worldwide since 1989, once famously said that “strength lies in differences, not in similarities”. The book was so unanimously-famous that the audio version became the first non-fiction audio-book in U.S. publishing history to sell more than one million copies. Covey’s book was such a hit in the global corporate environment that most executives today have read it. Covey went on to establish the “Covey Leadership Center” which, in 1997, merged with Franklin Quest to form FranklinCovey which quickly became know for its training and productivity tools to organizations – and, many, like Ford Motor Company, leveraged those tools. It was pretty common at internal Ford meetings to look around the room and see FranklinCovey day planners all the way around room. The mission statement for FranklinCovey: “We enable greatness in people and organizations everywhere”.
Years ago, I had the privilege of working at Ford Motor Company as a corporate engineer in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford was on the forefront of launching an internal initiative on diversity and they were looking for Ford employees who would like to become “employee-trainers” at Ford’s Training and Development Center in Dearborn. The role would allow folks the opportunity to be a part of something special and continue to support their day-to-day duties in their current role all while building their internal resumes. The diversity program at that time focused on showcasing people’s differences in terms of how they thought, collaborated, worked, etc. Most training sessions that I had the honor to co-lead (with another Ford employee) were attended by a wide array of employees from manufacturing to corporate, from U.S. to international employees, from young to older, from women to men, from creed to creed, etc. In the Spirit of Stephen R. Covey’s “strength lies in differences, not in similarities”, the discussions were incredible as the value of diversity we focused on was our individual ways of thinking and how to maximize that for the benefit of the Company and the employees.
Fast forward almost thirty years and, for most Fortune 500 companies, diversity has become something very different. Instead of celebrating our individual qualities and ways of thinking, companies tend to be looking too much on the surface and not into what lies beneath. Not looking into the core of executives has catastrophic effects on the value that executive search may or not bring to a Client – including the archnemesis to innovation and entrepreneurialism, “group think”. Far too many companies have moved to recruiting for “curb appeal” and not recruiting for “location, location, location” – to use a real estate metaphor. Sure, the exterior of a house (or executive) can really shine, but if the interior has a lot of faults, the entire endeavor can be a bad investment.
What most people don’t know about Stephen R. Covey is that he was an apostle and counselor in the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He leveraged his devout Christian roots to develop an entire executive leadership program, company, and empire founded on the values of Christianity. According to Christian tradition, differences were established from the very beginning of the first Book of the Bible (see Genesis 1) – many of the differences were complete opposites in fact. The heavens (stars) and the earth, darkness (night) and light (day), earth forms (land) and waters (seas), the many layers of the sky, every kind of plant and fruit tree (vegetation), sun and moon, all kinds of living creatures (birds, fish, insects, animals, humans), and male and female. It’s where we get the phrase, “the difference was night and day.”
Maccabeus doesn’t recruit “on the surface”. We see True Diversity as a special Gift that each and every executive (person) has in this world. Like snowflakes, there are no two executives who are exactly alike – most especially in the ways that they think and conduct themselves. By looking “below the surface” through competency-based interviewing for a unique skillset for each and every executive search that we embark upon, Maccabeus recruits the best talent possible for a given role at hand – thus, marrying True Diversity candidates with truly-diverse roles, companies, and executive leadership teams (ELT’s) and Boards. As with the body having many different parts (but all being important), Truly-Diverse executives must all work together to maximize and achieve the overall benefits for the company and, in essence, for each other. Like we said, that’s just how things were designed from, “the beginning.”
The highest integrity is key to all that we do at Maccabeus. We report first and foremost to God and then to our Clients and Executive Candidates. We are 100% transparent in our approach on all fronts. We tell everyone what we know and don’t try to “force” deals to take place. We fundamentally Trust that, if we are Faithful in working as hard as possible on our parts, that the outcomes that are meant to happen will. Maccabeus leverages many different approaches; including the 7 Habits of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”:
In addition to “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Maccabeus leverages the “1.5-3 Principle”. By being straight-forward and honest with everyone, our Clients and Candidates typically meet each other within 1.5 – 3 weeks of starting a search project. Clients should also expect to complete searches with Maccabeus within 1.5 – 3 months. While our “shock-and-awe” approach in the market is industry leading, we continue to run “through the finish line” continuing to bring more Candidates to the Client throughout the process.
Maccabeus doesn’t believe in any hidden, indirect, or uptick costs. Clients pay Maccabeus a fixed fee for an Executive search project. The fee is divided into a working retainer on the front end of the search (billed in multiple installments) to support our efforts in the market on Clients’ behalf(s); virtually eliminating surprises.
Maccabeus believes in God, our Firm, and our process. We will continue to work on the search as long as it takes and will replace Executives should something change on the Client’s end(s) for up to the replacement terms needed by our Clients. Finding the right Operating and Board Executives takes a tenacity to see through the surface of experiences and to look into the intangibles behind who a leader really is as a person. Maccabeus is committed to and has a strong track record of recruiting and placing to top Executives (for all functional areas) and Board Directors and Chairs across a diverse landscape of industries. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you and your Board.
“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”G.K. Chesterton