Mendoza School of Business

Here’s what Uber needs to do to actually make change happen

Published: June 13, 2017 / Author: Joe Holt

Joe Holt

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is taking an indeterminate leave of absence in the wake of repeated scandals at the company. Reflecting on the process leading up to Kalanick’s leave, Uber board member Arianna Huffington said “Our task now is to learn, rebuild and move forward together to write Uber’s next chapter.” A next chapter that is truly different from the just ending chapter will require different leadership, a culture transformation, and a lot more work than the company is likely anticipating.

Effective leadership requires a combination of competence and character. Above all it requires a capacity to model values like respect and fairness that are essential to a positive culture. If Kalanick is up to the task of demonstrating clear, consistent and credible commitment to such values, great; if not, a different CEO will be needed.

In an email to employees, Kalanick wrote “For Uber 2.0 to succeed, there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But 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.”

I respectfully suggest that “there is nothing more important” than Mr. Kalanick working on Travis 2.0, and then building out a leadership team that will work well with his new and improved self.

Read Holt’s entire commentary on the CNBC website.