How Your Company Culture Can Bring You Down

What we can all learn from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s downfall 

Who would have thought that one blog from an exasperated employee could bring down the CEO of the world’s most valuable private company? Just goes to show: one person really can make a difference.

As I describe in my recent article published in Home Business Magazine, it all began with an Uber employee, Susan Fowler, going public about her harassment and sexual assault by her manager. She at first thought the situation was unique to her but soon a tsunami of complaints were streaming into HR—which did nothing.

But this wasn’t about a single individual. Once the curtain got pulled back on Uber’s internal workings, it became sickeningly clear that here was a culture that had lost any focus on core values.

In light of all this, if you’re a CEO, how can you create a workplace culture that prevents sexual harassment situations from undermining your business, and even your own leadership?

In brief (for more, read my article here), here are three things to consider in order to see your business with “fresh eyes.”

1. It is not about what you say. It is about what you do.

2. Are you building a culture that reflects your public brand?

3. Are you admired by your employees and your customers? 

Take a good look at what you say and what you do. Try to see your organization from the inside. Spend a day in the life of your employees. And listen closely. In the stories they share and the jokes they are telling each other, you’ll hear what they value – and it will give you early signs of problems emerging. Don’t wait.

If you have a less-than-stellar corporate culture, now is the time to change it. Or run the risk of it taking you down.

Does your business culture need changing? Here are 3 blogs that can help: 

From Observation to Innovation,


Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants