Darn. I need a new suitcase and I love great design. I was all about to buy a piece of luggage from Away a few weeks ago. Then there was press about what a terrible place it is to work – nasty texts from the CEO, crazy hours and expectations. So bad the CEO resigned. This week, she said was sorry, she’d made a mistake and took her job back with a new co-CEO from another company.
So problem 1, as the leader of a firm that helps make workplaces work for the people who work there, I couldn’t bring myself to buy the luggage at the time. Problem 2, is the apology about the wrong thing. Whether or not she should have resigned is unclear. It’s a start up and funders might have preferred stability at the top. But the apology that is still missing is to the staff who make and sell her product. Without them, there is no company.
What should she have done if she wanted to come back, or even better before resigning in the first place?
Tip 1. Take the criticism. Even if it’s just a few people. Even if it’s a group of disgruntled people. Even if you don’t care what they think. Learn from it. What can be done better? What should be?
Tip 2. Care what they think. More importantly in the age of tech, care how they feel. Not so much you crawl in a hole but long enough to understand the issues.
Tip 3. Solve the problems that can be solved. Set realistic work hours. Set expectations for response times. Stop swearing in emails and texts. Remember that you depend on your workforce.
I hope she does these things. And I hope she does a great communications campaign sharing new corporate culture and values. And I hope she does it soon. I need a new suitcase.