Root Out Poor Behavior Decisively

By editor on January 28, 2018 — 2 mins read

I think that there’s a couple things. One is like, this first wave of the obvious stuff, I mean, this is a terrible way to describe it, but low-hanging fruit of sexual harassment, maybe we’ve dealt with that. Here’s what’s much more insidious — It’s all of the conscious and unconscious bias. It’s all the little snide remarks, it’s all the ways people are included and excluded.

That’s the stuff that’s super corrosive, and so how do you overcome that? Well, one is you have to have people that give a shit and when you see it, you root it out fast. And you act decisively. It does not matter how important that person is, how they’ve behaved in the past, how much money they’ve made you, you put them on ice and you put them on a path to get better or you kick them out. Period, end of story. No. 1.

No. 2 is then on the other side of that, you have to have a support infrastructure that creates a different way of giving these people an outlet so that they feel supported. So for example, there are so many great people in YPO, but there’s so many great people who don’t believe that’s a great fit for them, right? So do we need other forms of that? Absolutely. Should they be by definition more inclusive? Absolutely. Should they include people that are not necessarily CEOs so you get a more inclusive group? Absolutely. These are obvious things, right?

And so if you have that, you have the mechanism now to actually support people, and then you have a mechanism to teach people. Separately, when you find these small edge cases, it’s just so easy to let it go. The way that somebody says something, the way that somebody does something, and we all do it. And the question is, can we all now become a little bit more empathetic and say, “You know what? We’re all gonna find ourselves where against something or somebody or some group of people, we all have and carry a latent bias.”

Well, somebody else thoughtfully can say, “Listen, just FYI, blah blah blah,” and then you learn, and then in the same way you repay that favor, in a way that’s non-threatening. (34:55)

Posted in: Leadership

Editor's Note

These are Chamath Palihapitiya's words. They are probably some of the best thoughts on VC, business, and life, but were scattered around the Internet. They live now in this archive.