Top U.S. CEOS: Stakeholders over Shareholders

BRAND NEW PURPOSE: Top U.S. CEOS now say their focus is stakeholders—not just shareholders

The CEOs of nearly 200 companies just said shareholder value is no longer their main objective

The book "Work the Future! Today: A faster path to purpose, passion and profit" predicted this in 2017.

CNBC Link—click here.


Main Points

  • 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 stakeholders—employees, delivering value to customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting outside communities—are now at the forefront of American business goals.

  • This is the first step from the old bottom triple bottom line of profit, people, planet to planet, people, prosperity. Why? No planet, no people, nothing. And companies that don't stay relevant, die.


This is reflected in a recent book review by Thomas L. Law III. He wrote:

Benjamin Disraeli said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own”. This is exactly what the authors have tried to do in this book. They have shared their understanding of reality and the path from the Old Story to the New Story. Then they guide the reader through a systematic process for getting them from here to there.

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”

This book is a real eye opener. The authors contend that the Old Story is dying (evidence abounds), and a New Story needs to be written. “The outlines of the New Story narrative are emerging from the fog of the past. It’s more than about harmony instead of control; it’s more feminine than masculine; it’s more about stewardship than exploitation; it’s more about co-creating than about what’s already built. And it’s more about living in the present with an eye to the future than not being present and looking toward the past.”

They include an interesting quote by Ross Ashcraft, “The world is currently over-managed and under-led.” At the same time, it would seem that they feel there is not enough of their third element, creative catalysts.

“The world is currently over-managed and under-led.”

The authors highlight three different functions: leaders, managers, and creative catalyst. As I read through the book, I realized that at various times I have had to operate as one or another of these, sometimes all three, although my bent is toward creative catalyst. This last would be my purpose, but circumstances and job requirements have not allowed me to pursue this purpose, ergo, frustration on my part. Oh, that I had had this book years ago to understand better what was going on.


But the book is not all panacea and “in the sweet bye and bye”. The authors take the reader through a process of helping them understand the need to think of a “new story”. The need to move from the current reality (story) – profits, people, planet to a new reality (story) planet, people, profits. As they lay out this process the reader understands that this is not easy especially in our world which is so focused on the “next quarter”. But they highlight that this current drive to prioritize profits over everything else is actually dooming the planet and, in turn, those of us who inhabit it.

As the authors see it, we really do not have an alternative. And it starts with us. Each of us needs to begin the process in our own lives. Or as the authors say, “So no more manana. What we need more of is asking: What to do today? What do we need, what must, should, could we do today to have a better tomorrow? We are human becomings. We, like time, like the world, like life, are always in transition from on state to another – transitioning from this into that. Are your going to be a proactive participant or a passive passenger along the pathway of life? Stop doing so much and start creating more!”


The Book:

"Work the Future! Today: A faster path to purpose, passion and profit"

By Whitney Vosburgh and Dr. Charles Grantham

ISBN: 978-0-9996346-5-3 On AMAZON:

WTF! 2 books cropped wh bgnd.jpg