When Your Uber goes Under
When I was stationed in Germany I heard the word Über for the first time. It denotes an outstanding or supreme person or thing, kind of like tremendous! Like so many of you, I have used the Uber Technologies ride-sharing app many times. The company has grown to meteoric heights (valued at $70B) since its inception in 2009 so imagine my surprise when I saw the front-page news on Tuesday stating that the CEO, Travis Kalanick, was taking a leave of absence due to a scathing report on the company’s dysfunctional behavior.
I’ve seen my share of “oh how the mighty have fallen” and been inside a few organizations when it happened. I had the honor of being interviewed on two nationally syndicated shows this past week to discuss this type of event from a leadership and ethics perspective. What happened at Uber isn’t just a “tech” company issue. It’s not about the industry; it’s about the individuals. Any company can fail when faced with insufficient leadership organizational culture dysfunction. I’ve worked in the military, semi-conductor, defense contracting, and publishing and there is always the risk of an organization falling, stalling or folding. The real issue is, how deeply rooted is the dysfunction and the character malformations? Can you make a rotten apple ripe again? Can you reestablish trust be rebuilding or do you have to start over?