/ leadership

Communication within Tesla

via Inc

Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager’s manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else’s permission. Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens. The point here is not random chitchat, but rather ensuring that we execute ultra-fast and well. We obviously cannot compete with the big car companies in size, so we must do so with intelligence and agility.

One final point is that managers should work hard to ensure that they are not creating silos within the company that create an us vs. them mentality or impede communication in any way. This is unfortunately a natural tendency and needs to be actively fought. How can it possibly help Tesla for depts to erect barriers between themselves or see their success as relative within the company instead of collective? We are all in the same boat. Always view yourself as working for the good of the company and never your dept.

Having worked in companies big and small, I’ve always tried to figure out effective ways of communication.

  1. Red tape and the email chain of communication is common, frustrating and reduces productivity.
  2. Some (usually tech) companies use Slack, a chat messaging app, extensively. One even eschewed it in place of internal email. My concern is information overload. Having worked in a company with information overload (too many whatsapp chat groups), it was incredibly overwhelming. More time was spent replying messages than doing work.

But as what Elon’s email stated, instead of simply communicating, we should focus on doing what is good for the company. Working in small companies gave me a certain measure of that opportunity, especially when senior management approval was delayed and a decision had to be made.

Just decide and do!