Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem, “If,” written in 1895, talks about rewards to be reaped if we’re able to “keep our head[s] when all about [us] … are losing theirs.” The reality of corporate life, however, is that public companies can’t keep their heads, or their other key executives. Eventually, CEOs and senior executives die, suffer debilitating accidents or illnesses, become immersed in legal or ethical issues, retire, cease to be effective, or move on.

Given that reality, the difficulty confronting most public companies faced with losing their “head” is determining what’s really significant, what’s appropriate grist for public discourse, and ...