Communications at Tesla: Forget the chain of command

Elon Musk says employees should go around their managers if necessary.

Ragan Insider Content

Elon Musk is revolutionizing travel, but he might also be upending internal communication.

Inc. ran a story recently parsing an email Musk sent to his Tesla team. Here’s what he wrote:

Subject: Communication Within Tesla

There are two schools of thought about how information should flow within companies. By far the most common way is chain of command, which means that you always flow communication through your manager. The problem with this approach is that, while it serves to enhance the power of the manager, it fails to serve the company.

Instead of a problem getting solved quickly, where a person in one dept talks to a person in another dept and makes the right thing happen, people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager in the other dept who talks to someone on his team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb. Any manager who allows this to happen, let alone encourages it, will soon find themselves working at another company. No kidding.

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