Companies often try to learn from disruptor brands and to mimic those practices that have allowed those disruptors to be successful: This could mean company culture, the kind of talent hired or the types of values preached.
And then there’s Uber . . . It’s safe to say that brands won’t be taking many pages out of Uber’s playbook any time soon, but there is something to be learned from the on-demand company’s current unfortunate situation.
That situation, of course, has ranged from allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination, and complaints over company culture, to a Department of Justice investigation and a slew of driver complaints (including a very public showdown with founder and CEO Travis Kalanick). The newest wrinkle? This former CEO’s leave of absence has morphed into a resignation.
Uber, in short, hasn’t had an easy few months of it.
But what the rest of us should take away from all this is how, leading up to Kalanick’s departure, various unrelated situations collided to create this dynamic and complex situation — simple bad timing being just one.
At this point, the company has the opportunity to devise the new, improved strategy that will pivot the organization enough to put the brand’s ideals back at the forefront. Here are four things we all can learn from the Uber disaster.
Don’t focus just on the end-user.
At many tech companies, leadership’s main concern is typically, and solely, the end user — and this is a mistake.
While it goes without saying that consumers are vitally important, these people are not the only constituents that brands need to worry about to truly gain momentum. Instead, rallying their internal audience with the right message — prior to rallying the external one — allows for an authentic, united voice to better communicate to the masses.
In fact, Uber’s been dealing with a lot of “business insider” challenges that don’t even concern their consumers (nor are those people likely aware of those challenges). These include a questionable workplace environment, a below-average corporate culture and scandalous employee controversies.
Clearly, Uber needs to hit “refresh” on its engagement tactics and to better communicate its core messages to its wide range of audiences, including employees, investors, partner organizations, promotional contemporaries, drivers, local communities and consumers.
It’s okay to go through leadership change.
It’s not uncommon for one leader to successfully start and grow a company to a certain point, only to see that company need leadership change in order to continue scaling and evolving effectively.
Certainly, leaders need to stay true to their vision, but they also need to adapt to the challenges they’re dealt, while surrounding themselves with talented team members.
If there comes a time where CEOs can’t successfully cultivate their companies with their unique skills, while balancing the needs of various constituents and sustaining brand ethos, it’s time for a leadership change.
Many CEOs just aren’t that self-aware, or they tend to have big egos and to struggle with accepting that the company is now bigger than they are.