What can we learn from Uber?

Uber was recently in the news, resulting in its CEO stepping down. 

From my perspective, Uber’s CEO did not understand nor appreciate his limitations and the ramifications of his actions.  Everyone owns a business can learn from this serious but common management failure. 

As an owner of a SMB, you need to know your limitations.  This is not as easy as it may first appear.  Knowing what you don’t know can be challenging.  And sometimes egos get in the way, like with Uber. 

Most SMB owners have an inherent sense of knowing when they are entering areas that they have no real knowledge or experience with.  But these same owners are also comfortable making quick decisions and moving on to the next challenge.  Frequently this tends to cause these owners to not always recognize all risks involved. 

Having a competent and experienced management team is the first line of defense again addressing your limitations.  Having a team that has different strengths and talent is essential to a company’s success.  When you hire in your own image, like many new business owners do, this results in duplication of talent and one of you becomes redundant.  

Uber apparently hired many individuals with the same interests and talents.  This created an “us and them” mentality resulting in a weak and dysfunctional management team.  A “frat” environment was created and the problems accelerated.  The owner finally had to step down.

Having a diversified and experienced management team with different skill sets and talents, being confident enough to discuss management issues openly would have potentially saved Uber and created a much stronger company.

A company needs talent in a variety of areas, like production, operations, management, accounting, finance, human resources, legal, insurance, technology, sales and marketing.

This diversification of talent can be achieved for smaller companies (SMB’s) by combining the hiring process with an advisory board or advisory team. Your attorney, CPA and Banker can help balance out the skill sets temporarily until the company can afford to hire someone full time. As a business owner, you might know some experienced managers (even retired ones can work) that would be willing to help out.  The SBA Score/ACE program might be a worthwhile resource as will your Chamber of Commerce’s.