One Strategy Group CEO David Meadvin joined Said Differently CEO Rachel Barek to write in Inc. that "The OpenAI Drama Shows We've Entered the Age of the Employee."
Reflecting on the saga of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman being ousted by his board, and then returning to the helm just days later following an employee revolt, David and Rachel pointed to a larger trend at play.
"This was the most dramatic and effective example of the employee empowerment trend we've been seeing for years. Other recent examples include Disney employees walking out to protest the company's weak response to Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill, and Amazon corporate workers walking out over concern about climate change and the company's return-to-the-office policy. Each offered impressive examples of collective action, but neither had the dramatic results of the OpenAI employee stand," they wrote.
The takeaway for c-suite leaders?
"It's time to take employee listening just as seriously. In an alternate universe, a thoughtful strategy for employee listening - and empowerment - could have saved OpenAI one of the most baffling and self-inflicted corporate crises we've seen in years. Not every corporate power struggle is going to blow up into a Hollywood-worthy plotline like what transpired these last few weeks -- but every company can stand to learn from what OpenAI learned the hard way: Employees have growing power, and they are not afraid to use it."