Are you a value creator CEO of the 21st century or just a classic CEO of the past?

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Few years ago, I was in my home country to visit my family.
I met the CEO of a startup company in the USA on one occasion, as he said, he was there for vacation with his family.
“How long is your vacation?”
He said, “four months.”
“What?” I was shocked.
His plan of scaling the various peaks and embarking on treks within the Himalayas in Nepal was monumental.

If you ask many people how they can increase their results in life, they’ll tell you by working more.
By hearing this new CEO’s vacation plan, I realized that either I’m not understanding something or there is a huge problem with us.
I quickly learned that more work will not necessarily increase more results.
More of the same usually results in more of the same, when what we actually want is better than what we already have.
I learned from this new CEO that effectiveness wins over effort and we eventually lose if we start to do a lot of things instead of the right things.

I said, “I’ve read your book. You say that you want to add value to people’s lives through sustaining innovation, but that’s not easy in my home country.
People don’t trust business people and entrepreneurs.
General public has a good reason for this: they say business people, especially classic business people are corrupt, don’t add value to other people’s lives here.”
Then I added, “I’m sure and hopeful that you can help them in some ways.”
In the meantime, I asked him, “what does your company do?”
He said, “we are developing a drink which can replace the sugary coke type of drinks that people can enjoy without much concern about their health status.”
“What inspired you to start this company?” I asked.
“Because my whole family is obese and diabetic. Somewhere somebody has to start because we are 21st generation people now, we can’t just sleep with coke and Mcchicken,” he added.

I said, “Maybe obesity and diabetes are in your family genes.”
He said, “nope.”
“The culprit is our daily food.”
“Remember, only in America and the most developed world, the unhealthiest foods are the tastiest, the cheapest, the large portions, the most available, and the most fun foods.”

He said that he is unconditionally convinced that the quality of any 21st and future company is a direct result of the quality of smart CEOs and the vision they pursue.
As a civilized human being on earth, the general public must focus their attention and analysis on the quality of products and services in any organization that they are using and investing in.
It is the CEO who creates the sustainable business plan that endures for the next generation, who build the processes that work, who create the technology that simplifies our lives, who execute the tasks that deliver the quality healthy products and services to ordinary people, and who determines the success or failure of a business based on the value they provide to the general public as a whole.
It’s the CEO who captures vision and resources to generate other healthier next generation people on the planet.

“People are suffering from wrong foods and wrong lifestyles, people are dying by consuming wrong and unhealthy foods.
Eventually, people will pay for brands and they will pay for quality and health, there is nothing more important than people’s health.
People will pay for their health and quality lifestyles no matter what, only time will tell them when to start.
If you go back to 30 or 40 years ago, Whole Foods was not a place to shop. Today, Whole Foods is the place to shop, it’s picking up.
Sometimes we need a little bit of a kicker and that kicker is a little bit of education,” he continued.

“Many professionals in any field still employ esoteric language to make their job appear more difficult than it is.
For example, take an investment officer, accounting should not be complex, it is the language of business.
It accounts for what a company owns and what it owes, and it helps companies keep track of the money that’s coming in and the money that’s going out.
It should be different for any 21st century CEO, don’t use esoteric language, show everybody what the product or service it provides to the public is, is it making the public more healthier or less healthier.
We need judgment to run a company as a CEO, and judgment is qualitative rather than quantitative and, most importantly, judgment can not be searched in google,” he said.

“Desire is a powerful emotion and many durable and valuable businesses of the past have been built upon it.
Coca-Cola began in 1886 and has a market value of $260 billion.
Coke’s main ingredients are sugar and water, and the company has habituated consumers to believe that “coke is the pause that refreshes” and it is a “real thing”.
But in today’s world, soda and sweetened beverages are one of the main causes of inflammation in our body.
Researchers have found that sugar can also disrupt healthy functioning of the immune system by causing inflammation.
Eliminating soda from our diet is one of the quickest and simplest ways to protect the public’s health.
Not only those, many refined carbohydrates, white bread, pastries, processed meats like hot dogs and sausages, french fries, and any fried foods in general are inflammation booster foods.
So, the question is who will start and who will replace Coke, who has that responsibility for the next generation healthy society?
Mark Twain says beautifully, “it ain’t what you know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Remember, more than 34 million Americans have diabetes, about one in ten, and approximately 90-95 percent of them have type 2 diabetes.
We have to create a desire not to be diabetic in the 21st century and after,” he said.

As we all know, highly processed or refined carbs like white flour, white bread, and pasta are not our friends.
They behave almost like sugar in the body.
According to David Ludwig, an endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; “Highly processed carbohydrates are among the lowest quality components of the food supply, accounting for the majority of diet-related diseases in the United States today.”
As the new slogan goes, “sugar is a new poison.”

“To a great degree, we are what we eat and what we do everyday.
Losing weight rejuvenates critical insulin-producing cells in the pancreas known as beta cells. And regenerating those cells can actually put type 2 diabetes into remission.
We have to promote healthy fats instead of coke to actually stabilize our blood sugar.
The fastest way to lower insulin levels is to substitute fat for processed carbohydrates.
But the question is how.
The biggest challenge is not how to develop these healthy food habits but how to replace these old junks which are everywhere with new healthy ones” he added.

Let’s take one simple example, how we become habituated with business.
Shoppers don’t go to Walmart because they love the experience, they go to Walmart because the company acquires everything from wine to broccoli to indoor plants to school supplies more cheaply than competitors and then passes those savings on to the customers.
Walmart sells convenience at a cheaper price so we go to Walmart.

Let’s take another example of a different company.
Google is not selling a status symbol or a fizzy drink, it’s selling a reliable search engine that consumers have become habituated to in their daily lives.
Because Google’s brand has nothing to do with creating just desire, it’s more likely to endure very long because it’s creating value to the general public’s own professions.
Because they need information for their daily work and they do it by sitting on the comfy couch in their living room.

“One of the reasons I am optimistic about next generation CEOs who would be value creators rather than classic CEOs of the past is that they must demonstrate an ability to disrupt themselves before a competitor does.
Google should disrupt itself with driverless cars and artificial intelligence so that we can read in the car while going to the office in the 21st century.
Amazon is a leader in e-commerce and cloud computing now but it must disrupt itself for the whole food business so that we can eat healthy food and snacks at home at the price of Mcdonald’s McChicken.
By the way, McDonald’s does not only sell McChicken, it sells franchises, which is a system not a product,” he added.

Andy Grove, former chairman and CEO of Intel has said at one point in his life, “there is at least one point in the history of any company when you have to change dramatically to rise to the next performance level. Miss that moment, and you start to decline.”

Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in 2017 but it doesn’t mean that parents are not buying toys for their children. Similarly, it’s not that Brick-and-mortar stores didn’t have the stuff in their store that we needed but the same stuff people started buying from Amazon without leaving their comfy couch at home.
For 21st generations, companies’ CEOs must disrupt themselves to keep obsessing over the public and putting them first for their health, healthspan, longevity, time, and fulfilling healthy lifestyles.

I was about to say goodbye and I asked him, “do you succeed in beating coca-cola?”
He said, “Everything looks like failure in the middle.
We cannot make tasty mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner without getting the kitchen messy.
Halfway through a brain surgery, the operating room looks like a battlefield of murder.
If you plan to send a rocket to space, about 95 percent of the time it becomes off-course and it fails.
But finally, all of these works give results by making mistakes and correcting them.
I’m just trying to be that CEO, that’s it.”

Finally, I noticed that he was still doing the work of creativity which is thinking at the banks of the Himalayas in Nepal, and he innovates once he goes to the USA which is doing the real work.

Thank you for your time.
-Yam Timsina