Top 200 CEOs recently figured out priority 1 attention to stakeholder values is vital to shareholder growth

By: Bill Van Eron Monday October 14, 2019 0 comments Tags: Bill Van Eron


By Bill Van Eron

CEO, Biz & Market Effectiveness Coach

Headwaters Marketing & Innovation

Van-Eron-inside-photo The phrase “early adopter” had long been regarded as a trait of forward-thinking leaders. It still infers you get in early after a few others have figured things out & achieved success. But given the fact that we have entered a continuous change cycle at a time when risk aversion still dominates, being an early adopter is deemed too late by those in the know. “Early Adapters” speaks to the mindset & skills vital to synthesize & act on factors that affect greater value across your entire stakeholder ecosystem, likely before others.

Most of us long respected effective CEOs. They embraced their people, culture & markets in ways that transcended routine industrial & bottom-line models that soon ruled the land, not hearts, values & growth.

- Some leaders exhibited a mastery for communications & management that for decades pursued normalcy as appropriate -- true -- when change was low. The rare ones welcomed input that led to greater success. Normalcy that is consciously designed to be inclusive & values-based will inspire strong internal & external regard, and that is your best asset to shift change from disruptive to the unprecedented innovation within.

- A few CEOs earned regard as visionaries & enablers, with the aura of an all-knowing intuition, which soon failed. I see how CEOs & staff can align intuition to the values that shape stakeholder ecosystems to thrive.   

- Others got caught up in management control & status quo cultures, even greed, but change overall was quite infrequent then so success seemed predictable thus controllable -- until now.

- Following protocols that required multi-level approvals downgraded once in-flow entrepreneurial orgs, to places where ideas & challenges to the status quo were not encouraged. So innovation & effectiveness died the slow death & a low innovation reputation to defeat organizational relevance for employees & markets.  

Many are caught increasingly unprepared by our exponential & escalating rate of change. Most fell into risk aversion & still fail to realize the true nature of change is a time of unprecedented opportunity as true leaders soon begin to see the system that defines relevance & significance and then earn it. 

Reflecting on my own journey, the values of my youth & beyond helped me to relate to others as a way to reduce barriers. That served as my core values compass through life & very demanding work. My embrace of diversity in gender, ethnicity, attributes, ideas & open dialog as vital to creating trust, reasoning & relevance is now the opportunity before all of us. As a designer in a very demanding NYC environ, I accepted what I had to show as strengths -- synthesizing needs & values, open mindedness, respect, originality -- as vital to shaping more relevant connections. That was great when design, advertising & marketing required all in evidence. Little did I know then, that all & more of this mindset, skills & values compass would now be crucial to connect employees, customers, stakeholders & communities as a revitalized humanity, as invaluable to shaping lives, careers, orgs & communities that matter.

My path to sensing & proving this out created a major decades early advantage in 1990-2001 for HP. Employees, customers, resellers, media & influencers embraced my (soon our) insights as a path to their relevance -- the way it should be. It was an inclusive home run as all were inspired to do their best. Translated: Trust, regard, inclusion & relevance grew to a rare contagious level. The HP leaders I hoped to update on why and how these approaches are so naturally infused to increase value & effectiveness, seemed OK just engaging me to agilely integrate actions that effected outcomes, versus my bigger goal to expand the mastery org-wide. When I left, no one knew how to replace that gap. Now it’s vital.

I long wondered why leaders resisted embracing actions I saw because I cared beyond corporate norms and had still rare systems & possibility thinking skills. The outcomes were phenomenal with regard to employees caring to make a difference, external regard & far higher revenues. 

Recently -- decades later -- the Business Roundtable announced nearly 200 of the top CEOs such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft, realized bottom-line thinking to maximize shareholder gains greatly limited their need to adapt to thrive. They now realized -- what I have long considered as ones internal & external ecosystem values -- now as priority 1 to then return higher shareholder values.

Key points made included the following:

  • The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers of nearly 200 major U.S. corporations, issues a statement with a new definition of the “purpose of a corporation.”
  • The reimagined idea of a corporation drops the age-old notion that they function first and foremost to serve their shareholders and maximize profits.
  • Investing in employees, delivering value to customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting outside communities are now at the forefront of American business goals.

As important to more of us, are a few of the factors still missing in CEOs approach:

  1. How leaders can reshape a more relevant intuition to see and act sooner on things with confidence.
  2. Why initial transformation efforts fail from both the premature buyer & not yet optimal solution providers.
  3. What are the new success requirements and how to best start, realize and sustain?
  4. How to assure technology enables people. Digital addiction has limited our humanity at a crucial time.
  5. Significance is a 360 system with emphasis on earned human values, continuous enlightenment.
  6. The vital role right brainers & women are in the best mindset to catalyze greater relevance for success.
  7. Crucial changes to institutional functions - notably sales, marketing & HR - & how this improves all.

I will follow this blog with more on “the path forward” & in future blogs so more can transform to thrive in a natural, agile manner. Or better yet, with those of you wanting your effectiveness to matter sooner and more naturally without the trappings initial offerings seem to have.

While I feel fortunate to be among the very first to have applied all & more of the factors leaders only addressed recently -- with great earned internal & external significance & success -- my progressive stakeholder ecosystem vision is based on a new, agile, integrated, higher effectiveness model as resident in values-based engagement and business. As I connect with others who really get it, our bolder yet sound goal is to enable all that care to shape lives and work that matters -- a roadmap they soon see parallels the joy of flying.


Bill Van Eron

About the Author: Bill Van Eron

Bill Van Eron has led a life of continuous learning as fueled by originality, authenticity, trust, and attention to others across any org’s stakeholder ecosystem progressively, since 1976 & optimally from 1990-now, previewing work that matters as a key future-now workforce advantage. His proven ability to synthesize undercurrents of change & shape or revitalize values that rise up as what helps all to matter more, is now the path we all need to explore. Each of the topics above are all career attributes to help any of us add value. Bill evolved Headwaters Marketing & Innovation (, to now help us to rebound from this pandemic with honest reflection to what really matters as a forward-thinking plan to shape a better future. Bill’s rare experience and agile methods to integrate proven earned advantages will shape the next round of leaders in any market, industry & even government. We are all abuzz about technology & science innovation, yet attention to our humanity, humility, purpose, vision, trust & more moves all of us to rise above all obstacles (caveats) that stopped us before. All win when we feel listened to and inclusive. Connect with Bill at