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Keogh Nudge: WeWork IPO Fiasco

December | Leadership Development | Read time: 2 minutes

12 Holiday Nudges: WeWork IPO Fiasco

Futurists spend as much time looking backwards as they do forwards. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you can’t see where you’re going. With this in mind, we sought to reflect on some of the most newsworthy and memorable events of 2019 and asked ourselves: how might these affect the future? 

Over the next 12 days, we’ll share the year in review with insights and learnings we can take forward into the new decade, starting with:

Nudge 1: WeWork 

WeWork faced intense scrutiny of its finances after filing for its IPO in August. Since then, the coworking company cut its valuation down to as low as $US10 billion from the original $US47 billion. Adam Neumann’s $1.7 billion golden parachute has been widely criticised, even more so after WeWork announced job cuts of 2,400 employees.

We can see the underlying issues likely stem from poor leadership, rapid growth and a flawed business model. Absolute power, charisma and a good “spin” do not a leader of a company make.

Leadership needs to be about more than charisma and control. In fact, Neumann’s amount of control over The We Company influenced SoftBank to turf him as CEO. True leaders are those who seek others’ input, who surround themselves with people who call them out and give constant genuine feedback.

What can we learn? To make your case for existing to the world (to customers or shareholders) be clear, honest and authentic about who you are and what the company is. Look at the wider impacts of actions and correct the course early by gathering collective insights.

Investors need to look under the hood before getting swept up in the excitement. What’s the likelihood of long-term sustainability from a company driven by short-term gains? Understand the difference between real value and speculation.

Ask: does your brand and its people stand for ‘me’ or ‘we’?