A  few weeks back, I wrote about how Uber CEO "Dara Khosrowshahi has his hands full as he charts a course for the future while working to overhaul Uber's sad corporate reputation and internal company culture."  The article offered a handful of tips that I've found to be quite effective when working on similar challenges with clients over the past two decades.  

Subsequently, Khosrowshahi published a set of new company values in LinkedIn, which featured the typical "motherhood and apple pie" stuff you'd expect a set of published company values to include.  Remarkably, however, two of the statements gave me some hope that Uber's new CEO was serious about making things right at the company.  The value statements were:

  • "We are customer obsessed. We work tirelessly to earn our customers' trust and business by solving their problems, maximizing their earnings or lowering their costs. We surprise and delight them. We make short-term sacrifices for a lifetime of loyalty."
  • "We do the right thing. Period."

I thought, "Wow, OK, he's recognizing that the customer comes first and the firm's future rests on its ability to continue to delight these people that pay the bills.  And, he's making a bold sattememt about the need to do the 'right thing' - no excuses."  There's hope!

In fact, I even attempted to reach out to him and offer my assistance.  While a huge long shot, I figured it was worth a try.  Who knows, as a recognized authority on corporate culture and business transformation, I thought he may want to take me up on the offer.  But, to no avail. 

Now, I know why.  The new value statements are simply words on the page and the new CEO is no more interested in fixing Uber than his predecessor.  Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Khosrowshahi knew about the data breach that put 57 million Uber customer's personal and financial information at risk for months before he took the initiative to notify affected customers.   

This is not something a person who is "Customer Obsessed" and committed to "Doing the Right Thing, Period" would do. 

To close, Khosrowshahi seems to be more interested in making the appearance of being about change, with his bold public proclamations and a doubling down on the company value statements, than he is in committing to do the hard work that it will actually take to change Uber's culture.  If he wants some help, there are highly experienced guys like me around to help.  But, my guess is that there's still no interest.

As always, if you'd like some help in building a culture by design, please reach out to me.

Published on: Dec 4, 2017
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