Lessons Learned by the Mistakes of Travis Kalanick

By Paul Keijzer

Two weeks ago I talked about the ethical challenges leaders and organizations face in this age of acceleration. Well, it couldn’t have timed better. Last week Travis Kalanick stepped away from the organization he built and led, Uber, for an indefinite leave of absence. In his message to employees he stated: “If we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.” It’s a bold move for a leader, particularly when he has to admit he’s made mistakes and then to walk away from the company he created with so much passion.

Such decisions are never easy, but they are sometimes necessary for an organization to sustain its growth, rebuild its tarnished reputation and facilitate a bounce back. Over the years Uber has had its fair share of controversies and scandals. But all that hasn’t stopped it from growing exponentially – yet. The board, however, finally decided that it’s had enough. In order for Uber to continue its growth and maintain its competitive edge, it needs to revamp its flailing brand. The news of Travis Kalanick taking time off comes with much anticipation, particularly for its employees, contracted drivers and customers. And what’s expected by them is a cultural face-lift that’ll create a more conducive workplace environment, a sympathetic approach to its drivers and more customer focused services.

Mistakes Leaders Make

Kalanick isn’t, however, the first leader to face hardships for his chosen leadership style or unethical practices. One of the most talked about incidents revolved around Theranos and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. At its peak, the organization that revolutionized blood testing was valued at $9 billion. Today it’s facing several litigations and struggling due to its malpractices. In the business world, Holmes has become an exemplary leader of what NOT to do. The hospitality service provider Airbnb and tech giant Apple have also come under fire for their tax avoidance. And who can forget the mistakes made by VW in its emissions scandal? Though ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn denies he had any role or knowledge of the cheating, his leadership still was under the knife.

Whether an organization does well or not, the finger always gets pointed towards the leadership. That should be the wake-up call we all need to be detail oriented and constantly on our toes when it comes to matters of ethics. Sure mistakes can be made, but it’s how big (in terms of ethics and morals) the mistakes are that makes all the difference.

Take the example of Red Hat. It’s CEO, Jim Whitehurst, launched a product that wasn’t based on its core ideology of open source. What resulted was utter disapproval by its users and employees costing the company not only monetarily, but severe loss in terms of time to bring a product to market. Mr. Whitehurst had to accept the mistakes he’d made and apologized to this entire team.

Should Leaders be Passive?

Does all this mean Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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