Elon Is Everywhere

Dec 02, 2022 3:01 pm

Happy Friday!

Elon's takeover of Twitter and the daily fallout of his actions are dominating the chatter in my world, and I find it a bit frustrating.

It frustrates me because aside from his exposure as a famous person, his decisions, style, and perception of things are unexceptional and commonplace.

In other words, there's an Elon in every company I've ever worked at or consulted for.

There's a manager who thinks the developers aren't working hard enough or aren't hardcore enough, who thinks they're truly lucky to be there, who pushes their agenda without regard for other consequences, and who doesn't have a great track record of adding much to the company.

Some of you might be thinking, "No, not at my company!"

Yes, at your company.

Some of you know exactly who it is.

I've been thinking on this for a bit now, and I was surprised to think through the number of times I've been asked to improve groups and organizations that have an Elon in charge. It is quite a lot.

This leads me to believe that these Elons aren't hiding. Everyone knows who they are, but for a lot of reasons, they continue to exist even if their peers, managers, and subordinates all know.

While explaining how I deal with them isn't something that fits nicely in an email or even something I'd particularly advocate others to do, there are a few things that come to mind.

First, there is another observation I can make about leaders and managers in general, and that is they rarely receive formal training in any particular aspect of leadership or management. Some Elon's might be redeemed through support like this.

Second, if you work in close proximity to an Elon and you can tell that you're suffering from them, remember it isn't you, and you can have a better job. If you think that's the right move, but it's making you nervous or anxious, reach out to me.

Despite this email being mostly about the negative sides of what I and others have observed about Elon, there are other things that I think are rather interesting and remarkable too. For example, I do think it's remarkable how quickly he was able to bring Twitter Blue to market. He has shown an interesting capability to break Twitter's inertia as well.

All in all, though, his leadership approach is one that I think needs to be regarded as a cautionary tale, and further to recognize he's not special and there are Elons around you now. Be careful.