Uber had been a darling of the business world for the past couple of years. When my youngest son and I along with his best friend and his mom found ourselves stranded with a couple of strangers at a seedy motel in Union City, GA at 2:00 am. The hotel shuttle dropped us off assuring us we could use our vouchers there. Upon dropping us of at the hotel, the driver collected his kickback and promptly departed. No sooner had the driver left, when the hotel clerk informed us that they did not accept Southwest’s travel vouchers. As the others in the party argued with the hotel clerk, we sat off in the corner with the kids watching as several pimps and their hoes walked in and out of the hotel. There was no way in hell that we were going to stay out of the hotel, but getting a taxi outside of the city was difficult. A businesswomen from Milwaukee, called us two Ubers and booked us hotel rooms as a hotel closer to the airport. Thank god for her and for Uber.
The past couple of months for Uber, much like that night for us, have been nothing but an unmitigated disaster culminating yesterday with the departure of Uber’s CEO. I was reading an article in the paper the other day about the state of Uber and how one blog post has brought the once might company to its knees. In her blog post, Susan Fowler described her very strange year as an employee of Uber. This blog post recounted a number of issues at the company including explicit sexual harassment, career sabotage and gender discrimination to name a few. This blog post by a former engineer ended up going viral setting off a number of earth shaking events at the company.
The lesson for bloggers is that your words matter and your voices can be heard, so use the platform wisely and judiciously. For corporate leaders, consider how your run your teams and your organizations. If your employees were to write a blog post on your leadership, what would they say? Would they recount stories similar to Susan Fowler’s? Leadership is rarely glamorous and often thankless, but when people are treated with respect and made to feel value their opinions of their leaders and organizations will reflect it. Build an organization on respect, valued employees and principled leadership and you won’t find yourself leading an organization built on a house of cards.
For further reading on the Uber debacle: