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Elon Musk’s Words of Advice

Twitter under Elon Musk’s rule may well change – we will have to wait and see, and we look forward to reporting on the changes as and when they become clear. But I thought you might be interested in the allegedly leaked instructions to his senior executives in Tesla about attending  unnecessary meetings or using jargon. They carry wisdom – even if they sometimes are a bit too radical):-

1) Avoid large meetings “Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get rid of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.”

 2) Leave a meeting if you’re not contributing “Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”

3) Forget the chain of command “Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the ‘chain of command.’ Any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere.” [However, from my personal experience keep the chain of command in copy, otherwise you could create unnecessary confusion – the editor]

4) Be clear, not clever “Don’t use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication. We don’t want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla.”

5) Ditch frequent meetings “Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.”

 6) Pick common sense “In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a ‘company rule’ is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change.”

By the way, if you would rather look for similar words of wisdom from a less mercurial character than Musk, you will find, in more measured terms, similar advice from Google – particularly the views on attending meetings. I would add that it is always dangerous to generalize – if you are entering into a new space, let’s say you are looking for new ecommerce trends, then attend as many meetings as you can, and do not feel shy about just listening!

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Alastair Tempest

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