Here’s Why The Uber CEO Is Encouraging Employees To Say They Have ‘The D’

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi encourages a policy in which an employee says they have “the D” during meetings, according to a memo obtained by Business Insider and published Tuesday.

Despite what it may sound or seem like to some, the mandated protocol is aimed at making it more explicit who is the most in charge at a given moment.

“While our scale and scope are unrivaled, they come at a potential cost: increased bureaucracy, slower decision making, less accountability, and too many people in too many meetings where it’s unclear who the decision makers are,” Khosrowshahi wrote in the memo dated May 15. “You may hear me say in meetings ‘[insert name] has the D here.’ This is about being clear on who is the decision maker; I’d encourage you to do the same.”

But, as noted by BI, determining “who has the D” is an organizational exercise for many businesses, as it’s supposed to make clear who has the decision-making power in a situation.

“The most important step in unclogging decision-making bottlenecks is assigning clear roles and responsibilities,” a 2006 article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Who Has the D?: How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance.”

It continues:

Companies have devised a number of methods to clarify decision roles and assign responsibilities. We have used an approach called RAPID, which has evolved over the years, to help hundreds of companies develop clear decision-making guidelines. It is, for sure, not a panacea (an indecisive decision maker, for example, can ruin any good system), but it’s an important start. The letters in RAPID stand for the primary roles in any decision-making process, although these roles are not performed exactly in this order: recommend, agree, perform, input, and decide—the ‘D.’

However, to non-managerial experts and the younger generations, which make up a lot of Silicon Valley employees, “giving” or “getting the D” usually means sexual intercourse.

And Uber has been peppered with accusations over the years about internal sexual harassment, specifically towards female employees like engineers. So to many workers, it could come as an initial shock to hear the new(ish) chief executive encourage the use of such a term. (RELATED: Uber Sexual Assault Accuser Signs Movie Deal)

Khosrowshahi, who is being portrayed as a sort of savior for the once-reeling company in recent commercials, doesn’t seem to be aware of the potential confusion. And even if he is, he may not care since, as prime leader, he’s the one who ultimately has “the D.”

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