A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.
Arrogance seems to be a constant, whether in the cowboy heroes of yesterday or the “leader heroes” of today. Or perhaps we should say “unhero.”
Travis Kalanick is a true unhero and a good, if overused, example of above and beyond arrogance.
He publicly claimed he would be “Steve Jobs-ing” his dismissal and would return as CEO.
He still claims this in spite of a statement from Uber co-founder and director Garrett Camp, who says Kalanick will not return as CEO.
His “Steve Jobs-ing” comment refers to Jobs being forced out, but ignores the full story of how Jobs came back and what he did in the meantime (founded another company that Apple ended up acquiring).
What Jobs did NOT do was hire an advisory company that specialized in “CEO & Leadership positioning.”
“Through our close relationships with the world’s leading editors, reporters, producers, and hosts at top-tier print, online, and broadcast outlets, we develop and execute strategic, results-driven media engagement programs for CEOs that leverage traditional and social media platforms.”
More prosaically, it’s called spin.
In public relations and politics, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. … “spin” often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.
In short, spin alleviates the necessity of actually changing.
All Kalanick needs to do is write a check, probably a sizable one, and Teneo, the company he hired, will sell the “new” Kalanick to the world.
All hail personal growth and authenticity — the myths of Silicon Valley — along with meritocracy.
If you are interested in authentic personal growth be sure to check out this month’s Leadership Development Carnival.
Image credit: HikingArtist