Monday January 6, 2020 0 comments
By Bill Van Eron
Chief Stakeholder Relevance Officer
For decades, management valued the practice of isolating a need to fix it. That is obsolete where the needs are human, such as culture, greater employee enablement, a true stakeholder-wide system of accountability, how diversity and inclusion are applied and more.
Of many highly visible examples:
- Look at how many decades innovation has been on most CEOs’ Top Ten List without progress as true Innovation is connected to an open, diverse, enabling culture to synthesize what matters and act on it.
- The majority of large companies state employee recruitment as a top priority, while a huge percentage of younger and talented candidates strongly prefer being or working in entrepreneurial environs. Yes, it is easy to criticize leaders that just “expect” success, younger gens can also shape it as I did, versus just expecting it.
- Too few leaders have yet to care to see, enable or master systems thinking and creativity, as everything human is interconnected. Just as CEOs get stuck, so do CMO, CTO, CHRO and others who fail to accept change also offers major benefits for those that do adapt to thrive collectively. I created and applied an agile values-based model across a range of often missed needs in HP's stakeholder ecosystem as far back as 1990. All seamless, not the "totally disruptive" concern leaders feel about transformation. Revenues well exceeded all the highest expectations. Teams & influencers felt inclusive and enabled.
Why? Because the work I was able to synthesize with a conscious designer’s view earned the highest internal effectiveness, welcomed additional ideas and it also earned the highest stakeholder regard -- channels, market analysts, editors, customers. Success follows true significance. Any superficiality is seen with full transparency.
- The historically entrenched value about All-knowing CEOs has long shifted to the greater reality that only people-powered firms succeed. Yet, we often hear how today's CEOs are paid over a thousand times more than the average employee. I hear firms state they "pay for performance" and see how they equivocate each employee’s cost against how much they return in revenues. When you fail to assess all contributing value the same way, the system is broken. When I worked in HP across a wide variety of creative & relationship positions in marketing and brands I cared to earn trust, credibility & emotional & logical relevance. As internal & external teams got behind the values I was able to put forth, the contrast between that and how Gallup states 70% of today's employees are emotionally detached, clearly shows success follows significance. As I reflect back at my 25 years helping HP and spinoff Agilent, while I was paid reasonably well and content, my employee ROI was at least $50M each of 12 years as a designer and easily over $2B a year each of my last 13 years there. Had they cared to master these proven methods before I left, with great respect to their technology, I & all experiencing enablement, should feel positive they would still be a top 3 ranked company.
- With great respect to technologists and scientists, I see way too many orgs allowing their core left brain skills to dominate their culture. So yes, they inadvertently become closed, internally focused cultures. I totally embrace the value engineers provide and understand why they get the brunt of the rewards as expected. But in times of exponential change, we all have to understand what matters beyond our own long held beliefs. Right brain contributions often create that bridge of greater trust, and on up to contagious relevance we earned repeatedly to create a living brand.
5. As one that left my beloved design comfort zones to immerse myself into the HP Stakeholder ecosystem, my exposure synthesized what matters well beyond corporate agendas, revealed far greater contributions a conscious designer can make than waiting for others to see that need, which was and is truly rare. I risked leaving design, marketing & PR as I knew my long-term success created a foundation that is essential to enabling the best from a wide array of talented people I respect. As we all run when we think we are being marketed or sold something well before any trust or relevance has been established, I saw the same with HR. I have since remodeled my own success so more can emulate it at the top as Chief Stakeholder Relevance Officer, in the BOD and within the ranks as 1000 points of contributing lights in effect.
I lament, as a practitioner of continuous enlightenment and solution reflection, that even the top headhunters, workforce of the future, consultants, experts and core functions -- leadership, sales, marketing, R&D, HR -- all hold on to the past versus embracing the future to shape it as true leaders should. That may be the possibility thinker in me as I have great faith in the decency within all who feel connected to a purpose, values and new realities we all can make positive forces for beneficial gains to all. Let's make 2020 the year of "woke" stakeholder savvy systems.