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Why Some Entrepreneurs Crash and Burn

The New York Times covers several aspects of the Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s demise. It references the culture in the organization, speed of growth, shareholder concerns, and the aggressiveness of the leader.

In specific, it highlights Kalanick’s pattern of risk taking and references his lack of integrity. For example, the many years where Uber engaged in a worldwide program to deceive authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been banned.

In other reads, Kalanick’s unhinged confidence and competitiveness are hailed as examples of what makes him such a brilliant entrepreneur. Yet he is prone to trash-talking and tantrums, further revealing that his position as a CEO/Manager is highly suspect.

These observations highlight the fact that he is not self-aware and will continue to simply get in the way of his own success. Had he been behaviorally smart, he would have known that while entrepreneurs clearly need the talent to start a business, they also need much more to grow into successful CEO/Managers.

Kalanick says this about himself, “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.”

But when an entrepreneur has a pattern of risk-taking and lack of integrity then continues to present himself as bullet-proof, the behavior results in poor management. This is where genius can become insanity and entrepreneurship crosses over into illicit behavior.

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No single personality type makes up an entrepreneur – but there are wise steps that can be taken to manage the talents required to be a successful one. For example:

  • Managing creativity
  • Managing risk-taking
  • Developing innovation
  • Understanding personal EQ
  • Working with and through people

Highly innovative and creative individuals who see themselves as entrepreneurs (defined by Dictionary.com as those who identify a need—independent of product, service, industry or market) should take seriously the need to understand their personality before venturing into starting a business.

The DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process is a highly-validated discovery platform that predicts behavioral responses through identifying personality traits, attitudes about money, risk tolerances, and behavioral biases. Independent research shows DNA Behavior’s behavioral intelligence solutions lead to:

  • Closing the 60% engagement black hole caused by the relationship gaps in employee and client interactions
  • Increasing the suitability of client solutions offered to 99.75%
  • Improved employee productivity by up to 40% and increased revenue by over 23% a year
  • Identifying the 5% of employees who are potentially rogue, costing 5% of revenue in losses per year

As Travis Kalanick mourns his ignominious fall from grace, one thing is for sure – when he starts a new venture (and he will) his first step should be to understand how to manage his behaviors. And maybe then he can begin to understand why he thought the number one commandment he set for Uber employees was – Always Be Hustlin. Not the smartest of values to build a business upon, but a very clear indicator of the person who birthed the phrase.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

Carol Pocklington

Carol Pocklington - Human Behavior Solutions Analyst

Carol is a member of our research and development team assisting in the development of our behavioral products.
She has worked with Hugh Massie since 2001 since the Financial DNA understanding concept was conceived.


Carol's DNA Natural Behavior Style is - Facilitator


Carol is a Facilitator. Facilitators are persistent, goal-oriented people who promote team effort in order to complete tasks. Facilitators lead by setting examples and by achieving goals. Their strong work ethic encourages others to excel and they have an excellent ability to deal calmly yet firmly with people using a facilitative style.

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