The title of this piece puts on the pressure to produce a truly meaningful column. Hopefully after reading it, you and your fellow readers will conclude that “Holy Grail” is not too much of an overstatement.

Clearly, boards of directors, managements and shareholders agree on one thing: the primary goal of a corporation is to add shareholder value. However measured—be it profit, economic value added, stock price relative to time or other benchmarks, or return based on any of a number of denominators—adding value is the primary goal. Yes, acting with integrity and high ethical values and ...