For months, the media has reported widely on the cultural issues taking place at Uber, and company founder and CEO Travis Kalanick has been under an ongoing PR siege that just doesn't seem to want to end.

While none of us on the outside really know the extent of the issues and the root reasons why several key people and executives have left the company, it's safe to say that for some, Uber's culture was a significant contributing factor.

But here's the irony: Along with many of its customers, I want Uber to win. Uber has been transformative in creating a better way for people to get from point A to point B. I'm also guessing that most Uber users would mourn the loss of the company if it went away.

My hope is that Uber's cultural crises might be a rallying cry to a higher calling, setting an example for all organizations--not just Uber but Wells Fargo, Theranos, United and others--to follow. Companies can do much better in terms of leadership, character, culture, and values, and I'm not just talking about leadership as it relates to competency, competitiveness, and dollars.

What's the practical place to start? In my experience, as I laid out in my new book Good People, everything begins with organizational and leadership self-awareness. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one, and Uber isn't denying that. But the company needs to go even further.

In business, there's a stereotyped and widespread belief that compassion and competitiveness are counter-cultural. They're not. Openness, empathy and generosity can co-exist with a hard-driving culture.

For this symbiosis to happen, companies need to establish baselines of truth, transparency, and integrity before they can create positive, safe, respectful, good-people-oriented cultures. This goes deeper than just hiring consultants, writing down values, or holding workplace diversity workshops--those things can help, but without a commitment to a set of principles for goodness, they risk missing the target.

Below are five truths and principles that leaders and organizations--and yes, I'm also thinking specifically here about the world's largest ride-sharing company--can follow to get there:

1. People first.

Whenever you make critical decisions, ask yourself: How does this affect my people? Does it improve the lives of your employees and drivers? Is its effect neutral or does it have a negative effect?

More than being idea-first or profit-first, your cultural and leadership purpose needs to start with people. Great product--and great profits--will follow.

The top job of the best leaders is to build the right teams around them by helping others become the best version of who they can be. In short, they should be leaders cultivating leaders.

2. Redefine "good" to be more character and values-oriented.

The evaluation of potential leadership and managers must include more character-based evaluation than competency/skills assessment. It's worth remembering the words of General Schwarzkopf: You want to have generals and leaders who have character and strategy, but if you have to lose one, lose strategy.

3. Create goodness whenever you can.

An authentically good culture isn't just about doing the right thing when faced with moral and ethical dilemmas. It's about doing good whenever you're given the chance.

This means encouraging your people to imprint the right values onto others in such a way that people are collectively accountable to each other to uphold the expression of that culture. The environment should feel safe and trusted enough to "call out" goodness not being practiced when it could be.

4. Balance and forgiveness.

We can define a successful culture by how it makes balanced decisions based on foundational values, and also by how it responds to crises or mistakes. The very best organizations make mistakes, and no great leader is perfect all the time. By shining a bright light on what they can do better in response to their own mistakes, Uber can create one critical teaching moment after the next until the company simply gets better.

5. Commit to the long-road.

Culture change is a long highway, not a day-trip. The key is to commit across the company to working slowly--but gradually--toward becoming as great an organization culturally as it is in other aspects.

Granted, this is easier to set down on paper than to do--but the very essence of Uber's business model is a distributed network that goes against hierarchy. It's meant to democratize information and make for more efficient supply and demand. Being open and transparent throughout the organization in a non-hierarchical manner may be an accelerated way to create change--to challenge each employee to be a brand and cultural ambassador who can imprint goodness onto the next employee.

An example that has started: In part a response to the #DeleteUber campaign that led to thousands of cancelations of Uber accounts since the beginning of 2017, the #undelete campaign was sparked by 20 Uber employees who took a wall in the Bay Area and graffitied it "#Undelete" this past week.

Kalanick's opportunity at Uber is to take its beloved service and go beyond the product to focus as much on the people, principles, and philosophies that define the heart and foundation of a company. This is a chance for Uber to show that a commitment to goodness as a culture can help organizations evolve, or even transform and that they are there to make that audacious goal happen.