There’s an interesting conversation on LinkedIn, Would You Work For Elon? The conversation is interesting, some folks commenting on the “rightness,” or “wrongness” of what Elon Musk is doing at Twitter or whether they could work at Twitter.
There’s no “right” answer to this, it’s interesting to look at the different points of view. He has been very transparent, both in his statements about working at Twitter and what we know of Tesla and SpaceX. Working in any of his organizations is demanding, characterized by very hard work, vicious focus, long hours, high expectations of performance. He is very clear about the purpose, values, and culture he is creating within Twitter. Naturally, it’s a shock to many current employees who where used to a different purpose, values, culture. They may find they are no longer a good fit. At the same time, this can be exciting and challenging to many, who may thrive in this kind of environment.
I’m fascinated by the outcry against the things that he is doing (though I don’t know that I agree with everything he is doing).
While Elon is getting a lot of attention, each of us face the same issues in the organizations we work with. We need to ask ourselves, “Would we work for this organization?”
Top leaders need to be thinking, “What are the types of people we want to attract and retain for our organization?”
The issue is about clarity in understanding and living our purpose, values, and culture. We have to know what the organization stands for–for all employees, to customers, suppliers, and within the community. And leaders must reinforce this in their behaviors every day.
Whether one agrees with the purpose, values, culture that Elon is trying to establish for Twitter, one has to admire the commitment to them and how he lives and reinforces them everyday.
We don’t talk very much about these, they are the “soft” issues that are actually the toughest leadership issues in the organization. It’s much easier to talk about the “hard” stuff, goals strategies, priorities, specific go to market programs, processes, methodologies, and so forth. It’s easy to measure those things, it’s easy to diagnose and take action. Yet we are faced with the highest levels of attrition I’ve ever experienced. Coupled with low engagement, lower employee satisfaction and everything else, we create a challenge to our ability to perform.
While we are “managing the hard stuff,” we have people who don’t feel heard, or cared for, or see a future for themselves. We align ourselves with with organizations that have common elements with our own identities. Our customers do the same things. We recruit people who are aligned to our purpose, values, culture. In doing so, we create employees who feel unstoppable.
Frankly, the question “Would you work for Elon,” is meaningless to all except those who work for Twitter. But the important questions all of us have to answer is “Who would want to work with us, how do we create an organization that attracts and retains the right people? Who would want to be a customer of ours? What do we stand for?”