Maccabeus Insights – Q1 2023

“Truthfulness is a way of expressing care for others.”

Jack Herschend

F/ Chairman, President, CEO HFE

Truthful Leadership

Jack Nicholson is infamously-quoted in the movie “A Few Good Men“, “You can’t handle the truth!” What his character U.S. Marine Colonel Nathan R. Jessup was really saying was, “I know the truth, but I can’t (and/or don’t want) to tell you, because it is just too much for the general public to bear.”

Jack Nicholson is infamously-quoted in the movie “A Few Good Men“, “You can’t handle the truth!” What his character U.S. Marine Colonel Nathan R. Jessup was really saying was, “I know the truth, but I can’t (and/or don’t want) to tell you, because it is just too much for the general public to bear.” Unfortunately, many Executive Leaders in the world today lack the tact for transparency and opt instead for an altered reality of what really needs to be communicated to others (e.g. Boards, Leadership Teams, employees, customers, peers, students, athletes, constituencies, etc.). The ensuing environment from a non-transparent, semi-truthful leader can open the door to a toxic environment where trust and loyalty run thin – as well as the bottom line.

Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE) is a privately owned themed-entertainment company that operates several theme parks and tourist attractions within the United States and Canada. It was found in 1950 by Hugo and Mary Herschend and now owns, co-owns, and/or operates more than twenty-five (25) entities, including amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, attractions, dinner shows, lodging, and a sports entertainment franchise (see image for details).

Source: Herschend Family Entertainment

Headquartered in Peachtree Corners, Georgia (USA), the company has said that its mission is to “create memories worth repeating” in a manner “consistent with Christian values and ethics.” To help support their current and future leaders, HFE has created Herschend University. Leadership courses and support materials are available for Servant Leaders who want to be more patient, kind, humble, respectful, unselfish, forgiving, trusting, dedicated, and truthful. Their course on Truthful Leadership starts with a Biblical Scripture text from 1 Corinthians 13: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth”. At HFE, Servant Leaders simply tell the truth. They keep their word – including making promises that they keep, communicating expectations that others should expect from them (while following through on their commitments), and being accountable for what they said. And, Servant Leaders always act with integrity – even at great expense to themselves, their employees, the Companies, and their Families.

At times, the truth can be very “inconvenient”, but it is core to the values and beliefs of Servant Leaders and can never be compromised. Too often, Corporate Executives take the wide path the leads to destruction as opposed to the narrow gate that leads to life (see Matthew 7:13-14). In other words, they sometimes take the “easy way out” even if it is misaligned with their values and beliefs. While it might sound like a good idea at the time in a Board Meeting to cut 1,000 jobs to improve a Company’s bottom-line quickly, the long-term implications, costs, and ramifications are often not considered seriously or objectively enough before the decision to reduce headcount is made.

In Doug Crandall’s and Matt Kincaid’s book, “Permission to Speak Freely“, the authors illustrate the benefits of candor in all kinds of communications – while explaining the inhibitors that cause it to feel unsafe and providing tools for Executive Leaders to encourage their people and embed trust and openness into the foundation of their organizational culture.

According to the book, Servant Leaders lead by example with a transparency that pervades the culture of the entire Company. Taken a step further, being truthful in all things drives candid communication which, in turn, enhances innovation, ownership, engagement, and performance. The benefits of hearing questions and uncertainties, good and bad ideas, and honest feedback are game-changing. Yet research shows that most of the time, people never share their true thoughts with each other – and especially not with their Leaders.

Doug knows a few things about effective leadership having served in the U.S. Army for thirteen (13) years, including the last five (5) at West Point where he was an award-winning leadership teacher and later the Executive Officer to the Dean. Matt is a business professor and was the Managing Partner of Blue Rudder (a Leadership Development Consultancy). He has led four (4) start-ups, consulted for various Fortune 500 Companies, and been published in international leadership journals.

Permission to Speak Freely by Doug Crandell and Matt Kincaid

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 principles found in the book, “Permission to Speak Freely“, by Doug Crandall and Matt Kincaid.

Here are what our Clients say about us:

  • “High integrity, results-oriented, performance-driven, relatable, intelligent, transparent” / Ned Linnen, EVP/CHRO, Avis Budget Group
  • “Diligent, quick, empathetic, highly-professional” / Patrick Sobalvarro, Co-Founder/CEO, Veo
  • “Most efficient, effective, delivers exemplary results, work ethic, commitment, effective communication” / Frank Kneller, f/ CEO, Sun Auto
  • “Honest feedback, true expectations, surprises kept to a minimum” / John Hanighen, CEO, Cloyes Gears & Products
  • “Trusted advisors, brilliant connectors, always put integrity and confidentiality above all” / Vic Keller, f/ C-Suite, Berkshire Hathaway
  • “Strong character, unyielding integrity, sincere care, understanding, socially- and emotionally-intelligent” / John Bohenick, f/ CEO, Dayco Products
  • “The best, knowledgeable, attention to detail, unmatched expertise, integrity, caring character” / Ron Frey, f/ Chief Strategy, CDK & AutoNation
  • “Top of the class, integrity” / Gary Tucker, f/ CEO, Zubie
  • “Truly-honest, understanding, organized, run a tight ship, high expectations, raise the bar, results” / Jed HunterCEO, Allegiance Trucks
  • “Authentic, character, focus, delivery, complete trust” / Sam Richardson, CEO, Identity Group
  • “Consummate professionals, efficient, diligent, professional, trustworthy, purposeful, understanding, moves through difficult issues, great communications, masterful” / Todd Hauser, Chief Legal Compliance Officer, K2 Partnering Solutions
  • “Integrity, honesty, builds long-lasting relationships, trust, network of relationships” / Bill Williams, f/ Chief Financial Officer, Nivel Parts and Manufacturing

At Maccabeus, we do our best to find Clients the best Executive for the job through competency-based interviewing that is much more “relational” than what many Executive Search Firms provide. We take the time to get to know our Clients, the Executives being considered for the job, and the Families of all of those involved. God commands that we put others before ourselves. One way of doing that is by implementing the Golden Rule – to do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. By actively-listening and engaging-directly with multiple Client Executives, we are able to form a more well-rounded perspective on both the tangible and intangible requirements of any search project. We go “beyond the job specification” to form a more intimate relationship with everyone involved and go where most other Executive Search Firms don’t take the time and effort to venture into. To us, life is about God and people first – if those two things are wrong, there isn’t going to be a healthy bottom line for sure.

By putting the needs of others (including Families) first, we are able to be very successful in our own right, as well. In 2022, for example, Maccabeus introduced Clients to 600+ Executives with 100% success, an average of 2.1 weeks to showing our Clients the Finalist for the role (on 83+% of our searches) at 40+% less costs than the industry average. We produced 350+ industry news articles, quarterly insight pieces, and video overviews on topics relevant to Industry Executives. And, we did so for Clients with revenues ranging from $10-million to $10+-billion and up to 21,000+ employees (both regionally and globally). For our Clients and the corresponding Executives, that’s keeping a very good eye on the bottom line by keeping an even better eye on God and the people involved. It’s one of the main reasons that our Clients come back to Maccabeus time and time again for their Executive needs.

Maccabeus’ Partners “Genesis-ed” from direct industry careers and actual working knowledge.  It’s through that knowledge, experience, and wisdom that we’re able to maximize our own revelations of the Executive Recruiting process and minimize having to replace formerly placed Executives.  We see each and every executive (person) as the Gift from God that they are and Maccabeus routinely works to get to know the Clients, Executives, and Executive’s Families first-hand.  Maccabeus understands what it’s like to relocate for a new career challenge (including move Children and Grandparents) – to be going to a new Company starting a new job in a new town/city possibly in a new state/country (and away from extended Family) with potential new local and national customs and ways of doing business, etc.  We’ve worked across the U.S. States and in many countries in North and South America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand.  We know how critical a new hire is and what success and/or failure in that role means first-hand.

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.

Pete Herschend, f/ EVP and Vice Chairman at HFE, “Being truthful isn’t always easy. Sometimes you want to spare a person’s feelings, or avoid looking at your own weaknesses. But being a leader requires you to see things as they really are, so you can work to make them better. This means acting with honesty and integrity, and sharing feedback – both giving and receiving – in a way that fosters care and truthfulness.”
1 Corinthians 13: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth”. Servant Leaders simply tell the truth. They keep their word – including making promises that they keep, communicating expectations that others should expect from them (while following through on their commitments), being accountable for what they said. And, Servant Leaders always act with integrity – even at great expense to themselves, their employees, the Companies, and their Families.

Truth is not private property.

St. Augustine

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