A Company Stinks From The Head Downwards in Business and at Work

The fish always stinks from the head downwards.

-Turkish Proverb

When I conduct harassment awareness / prevention training, it drives the point of the training home to use an example from real life / recent press stories, such as this email excerpt:

“Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic ‘YES! I will have sex with you’ AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command.”

Not only is it an example of (conveniently, for HR folks and others responsible for compliance and loss prevention) self-documenting bad behavior, it is sadly a communication from Uber’s CEO to his employees in 2014.

Simply put, the CEO and their leadership team set the tone for a company’s culture; and Uber’s tone is not only reputation-killing, it has also set the stage for the wide-spread harassment that has been plaguing Uber.

You may agree or disagree ethically with Uber’s culture – the bottom line is that Uber’s CEO has set a cultural tone that has resulted in potential violations of state and federal law.

How does your leadership team minimize risk by setting a compliant cultural tone in business and at work?

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