Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Musk vs. The US Navy

Have you watched the “build a little, test a little, learn a lot” progress of SpaceX over the last few years?  Like what Tesla has been able to do? Been impressed? Wondered why the USN hasn’t been able to bring a successful new warship online in two decades?

Well … via Blake Stilwell at military.com we have a few rules from Elon Musk in a 2018 email that … well … I’ll let you read them;

...here are a few productivity recommendations:

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

 – 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 working elsewhere. 

– A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is 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.


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