Session 16: Founders Dilemma III (Values and Principles)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

 Sometimes companies face challenges beyond the 5 primary risks that we have discussed - market, team, technology, product, business model. Challenges that come from within are often related to a 6th risk — values. In this session we will read about a series of companies that have gone awry due their lack of clear values. Even companies that reach scale can fail when their values aren't sustainable or incentivize problematic behavior within the company. At the conclusion of the class we will turn to our own personal values and how those values will guide us over the course of our careers.

Quote of the Day: “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Roy Disney

Required Readings 
Policy on Required Readings)

1. Watch this Tristan Harris video: Questioning what you do

2. Read the first item carefully and skim the rest for Zenefits

3. Read the first two items carefully and skim the rest for Uber:

4. Read the first item carefully and skim the rest for Mike Rothenberg:

Study Questions 
(Policy on Study Questions)

Be prepared to discuss each company as a mini-case during the class session.

1. What went wrong at Zenefits, Uber, and Rothenberg?

2. What were the values (or missing values) that resulted in the employee behaviors and crises each company faced?

3. As a potential employee of a company, how would you learn about and evaluate its values before joining?

Recommended Readings

Online Assignment
Reflect upon a time when you compromised your values to achieve your goals.  Write 2-3 paragraphs describing the situation and submit on Canvas.

Additional Optional Assignment - OAP Dress Rehearsals
OAP Dress Rehearsal. For extra credit, each team can pair with another by Monday evening, March 4, 2019 to do a dress rehearsal. This exercise is designed to both allow you to receive feedback on your presentation and let you practice giving constructive feedback to others.