In one of many efforts to reset the company’s much-bent-and-very-banged-up values, Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi presented new rules of the road to the staff today at an all-hands meeting.
It included the most obvious of bromides: “We do the right thing. Period.”
It’s a subtle swipe at previous management under ousted CEO Travis Kalanick, of course, which most definitely grew the car-hailing company into a giant. But it — and I also include the Uber board in this group — also drove Uber smack into an even bigger wall that has included ugly regulatory and toxic cultural crack-ups.
And it’s been up to former Expedia CEO Khosrowshahi, the adult brought in to clean up the mess earlier this year — he’s calling those disasters “firefights,” by the way — and to define what’s next for Uber. That includes scripting a new set of what are being called “cultural norms,” crafted from suggestions solicited from the entire company.
Along with almost two dozen focus groups of employees, more than 1,200 ideas were submitted and were voted on 22,000 times. The focus of what was distilled is on customers, drivers and more.
An example: “We celebrate differences. We stand apart from the average. We ensure people of diverse backgrounds feel welcome. We encourage different opinions and approaches to be heard, and then we come together and build.”
Such rules — often called “values” — are not uncommon at companies (see Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto), although past ones at Uber have focused largely on aggression and growth.
One from the Kalanick regime involved encouraging stepping on toes, which pretty much resulted in a lot of broken bones. In another memo before a company gathering, he told employees that beer-keg-throwing off roofs and vomiting was a no-no, which was correct but begged the question of how bad the behavior was that he had to make that salient point.
Khosrowshahi addressed that need for a shift in attitude in a post to staffers. “Our values define who we are and how we work, but I had heard from many employees that some of them simply didn’t represent the kind of company we want to be,” he wrote. “For instance, ‘toe-stepping’ was meant to encourage employees to share their ideas regardless of their seniority or position in the company, but too often it was used an excuse for being an asshole.”
(Hey, he said it — I didn’t, although I wholly agree with that last part about assholes!)
In any case, these are just words in the end and it will require firm leadership to enforce them and make employees take them to heart. But, at least in the case of Uber, they probably mean a lot more.
For those interested, here’s the whole list of new rules:
Uber’s Cultural Norms
We build globally, we live locally. We harness the power and scale of our global operations to deeply connect with the cities, communities, drivers and riders that we serve, every day.
We are customer obsessed. We work tirelessly to earn our customers’ trust and business by solving their problems, maximizing their earnings or lowering their costs. We surprise and delight them. We make short-term sacrifices for a lifetime of loyalty.
We celebrate differences. We stand apart from the average. We ensure people of diverse backgrounds feel welcome. We encourage different opinions and approaches to be heard, and then we come together and build.
We do the right thing. Period.
We act like owners. We seek out problems and we solve them. We help each other and those who matter to us.
We persevere. We believe in the power of grit. We don’t seek the easy path. We look for the toughest challenges and we push. Our collective resilience is our secret weapon.
We value ideas over hierarchy. We believe that the best ideas can come from anywhere, both inside and outside our company. Our job is to seek out those ideas, to shape and improve them through candid debate, and to take them from concept to action.
We make big bold bets. Sometimes we fail, but failure makes us smarter. We get back up, we make the next bet, and we GO!
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.