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Changing Minds at Uber

Posted by: csjacobs | Posted on: July 06 , 2017 | Category:
Changing Minds at Uber

CEO Travis Kalanick has finally resigned from Uber amid scandals that in both number and severity can only be called “uber.” The deplorable actions of Mr. Kalanick, as well as many of his executives, all seem to stem from Uber’s ‘cultural malady’, which Dan Lyons of the New York Times has dubbed “bro culture”.
Bro culture fosters an environment where companies are run much like a fraternity house. It’s perfectly laid out in its infamous 14 core cultural values, which includes super-pumpedness, meritocracy/ toe-stepping, and always be hustlin’.
Frat house values like these are well proven to be not only detrimental to the work environment and productivity, but also a turn off for venture capitalists currently investing, or planning to invest, in the business.
Companies with a bro culture have one main goal: do whatever it takes to grow the company as fast as possible, no matter the consequences. But in Uber’s case, the consequences have cost the company billions of dollars in potential market value just this past year. If something isn’t done immediately, Uber could lose billions of dollars and very possibly meet the same demise as countless other forgotten Silicon Valley startups.
New board members and executives are not enough to solve the company’s problems. Nor are piecemeal attempts to change the culture. But thankfully modern science has given us a simple, yet revolutionary, solution to this problem.
Neuroscience teaches us that the brain works through narratives, which give us our perspective on the world and drive our decision-making and behavior. A company’s culture is the collective story employees tell themselves. Changing Uber requires a new story, which is a comprehensive paradigm shift.
Uber’s new executive team needs to get together and create a new narrative, envisioning the future for their business, identifying the obstacles to achieving it, and formulating the actions to overcome them. Creating this narrative will fuel a productive conversation about the creation of core company values, which will foster a less deplorable work environment.
Cognitive neuroscience demonstrates that once an alternative narrative is created, and new goals are set, our behaviors will adapt to achieve these goals. For Uber and all of the other companies that want to flourish in this age, it’s time to replace the bro culture with one based on science.

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