Can Sheryl Sandberg Save Uber?


The disgraced company needs a hero.

The leadership of Sheryl Sandberg is, as her best selling books will attest, something to be aspired to. She’s upfront about her failures, honest about lessons learned, and touchingly humble in her ability to talk as openly about her personal life as she is about her professional one.

According to a source that sits on the same Uber board as Arianna Huffington, Sheryl’s admired leadership is presently being courted by Uber execs, who hope she can be the one to turn the ailing company around.

Following a string of public missteps – from CEO Travis Kalanick’s abusive tirade on an Uber driver, to the post written by former employee Susan Fowler detailing rampant sexual harassment, and, finally, the very recent ousting of CEO Travis, who resigned this week following a shareholder revolt, in which five major shareholders demanded his removal – it seems the startup’s bubble has well and truly burst.

While sources also assert Sheryl isn’t looking to relocate to Uber, we wonder what the company might gain if they did manage to successfully poach the pioneering leader. Here’s why we think Uber might look considerably different with Sheryl in the chair.

She’s done something similar before

When Facebook was staring down the barrel of an IPO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a bit of a loose cannon, sources say. The company brought in Sheryl to take the company successfully through the transition, and the pairing between rogue Mark and sober Sheryl had such a solid outcome, the move – where one exec is hired in a sense to control another – has been known in Silicon Valley as “getting a Sheryl Sandberg” ever since.

She’s serious about pulling people into line – including herself

One of the greatest traits of Sheryl’s masterful leadership is her ability to hold people – including herself – accountable.

As we’ve previously discussed, Sheryl wasn’t about to let herself get away with the unwanted trickle-down effect of her own shortcomings – namely her desire to be involved in every company decision.

“I was their boss, I was their manager, if they didn’t tell me [I’d made a mistake], that was on me and I realised, I have to make it safe for y’all to speak up when I’m messing up.”

She can give the company a culture overhaul

The culture of a company is more than just the spread of free food on its shared kitchen table – it’s about values. Right now, it seems Uber is missing a shared company commitment to its people (and its people to them). In a company that’s grown as quickly as Uber, scaling becomes a major issue because employees feel increasingly as though they’re more like human capital than a member of a team.

“People are seeing how much loyalty they can get from their employees when they treat them as human beings,” she told Bloomberg.

In short? Sheryl gets it.

Bridget de Maine

Staff Writer Collective Hub


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