The content of a leaked email from Elon Musk about productivity is “currently” circulating both on LinkedIn and Facebook.
But did you know that every time an Elon email is leaked, the ending is always his 6 Insane Rules on Productivity? And the email in question is said to be intended for Tesla employees, but some have linked it to Twitter employees without providing evidence. And every time an email leak happens, social media users went berserk on sharing this.
Thanks to Dr. Mehdi Soodi’s viral post which was being referred to as the source of this on LinkedIn.
He did not cite a reference, but the exact same text of his post can be found on a tweet by @LiamKircher approximately 10 days earlier.
Before going thru the deets of Elon’s 6 insane productivity rules, I’d like to share my observation that (1) despite the lack of reference of the referred viral post, it went viral, (2) those who shared Dr. Soodi’s post did not follow his request to use the “share button”, instead opting to copy and paste. And (3) It looks like the glitz and glam of going viral outpace critical thinking and professional courtesy.
I’ll leave it at that for now; I may make a separate post or reel about this in the future.
Going back to the email’s content, given the negative attention Elon Musk is receiving from the mainstream media and Twitter users for the hostile takeover, this could be a deliberate strategy of his PR team to balance public opinion. Besides, Elon has a history of emails being leaked to the media since 2008, and we are reaching a situation likened to the story of the boy who cried wolf.
If this is not a paid intervention though, then Elon Musk also has a strong following that drives organic discourses.
But, regardless of the motivation and manner in which the content became viral, Elon Musk’s productivity framework is worth looking at.
Here’s the content of the post shared by @LiamKircher/Dr. Soodi on Elon’s 6 rules for productivity
1) Avoid large meetings Large meetings waste valuable time and energy. - They discourage debate - People are more guarded than open - There’s not enough time for everyone to contribute Don’t schedule large meetings unless you’re certain they provide value to everyone.
2) Leave a meeting if you’re not contributing If a meeting doesn’t require your: - Input - Value - Decisions Your presence is useless. It’s not rude to leave a meeting. But it’s rude to waste people’s time.
3) Forget the chain of command Communicate with colleagues directly. Not through supervisors or managers. Fast communicators make fast decisions. Fast decisions = competitive advantage.
4) Be clear, not clever Avoid nonsense words and technical jargon. It slows down communication. Choose words that are: - Concise - To the point - Easy to understand Don’t sound smart. Be efficient.
5) Ditch frequent meetings There’s no better way to waste everyone’s time. Use meetings to: - Collaborate - Attack issues head-on - Solve urgent problems But once you resolve the issue, frequent meetings are no longer necessary. You can resolve most issues without a meeting. Instead of meetings: - Send a text - Send an email - Communicate on discord or slack channel Don’t interrupt your team’s workflow if it’s unnecessary.
6) Use common sense If a company rule doesn’t: - Make sense - Contribute to progress - Apply to your specific situation Avoid following the rule with your eyes closed. Don’t follow rules. Follow principles.
But to give context to the bullet information above here’s the text of the original email according to this post
Btw, here are a few productivity recommendations:
– Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get off all
large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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
– A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is to allow free flow of
information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has
to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP,
who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work,
then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen.
– 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.
If there is something you think should be done to make Tesla execute better or allow you to look forward to
coming to work more (same thing in the long term), please send a note to [redacted]
Thanks for being such a kickass team and accomplishing miracles every day. It matters. We are burning the
midnight oil to burn the midnight oil.
- On ditching large meetings: This is in contrast to the traditional town hall meetings, but I am with Elon on this.
- On leaving meetings: Whoever is calling the meeting should equally be held accountable
- On avoiding jargon: +1
- On ditching communication protocols: Borderline red flag. But this is doable if the manager/supervisor is (1) not insecure (2) direct reports have the courtesy to keep their bosses informed and (3) guidelines are set in terms of prioritization of work.
- On ditching frequent meetings: This sounds good on paper but you need to connect with people in a humane way, thus meeting one on one or as a group is still needed for mental wellness sake on a regular basis may still be needed
- On using common sense: Processes and policies need to adapt to times. But organizations should have a set of minimum acceptable behavior anchored on core values to maintain order.