Elon Musk is a controversial boss and manager. Denounced for the poor working conditions in his factories and for the pressure put on his employees, the Tesla boss has written an open letter that should inspire companies undergoing organisational transformation. Indeed, his message promotes open management, (real) internal communication and the end of silos, in favour of a more agile and efficient company. Whatever the character, the message holds true. This is why we suggest you read (regularly) this letter from Elon Musk on management:
"There are two schools of thought about how information should flow in companies. By far the most common is that of a chain of command, which means that you always channel communication through your manager. The problem with this approach is that it increases the power of the manager, but does not serve the interests of the company.
Instead of solving a problem quickly by allowing an individual in one department to talk to someone in another department to make the right decision, employees are forced to talk to their manager, who talks to the manager in the other department, who talks to someone in his team. This is incredibly stupid. From now on, all managers who allow this practice or encourage it will have to find another company to work for. I'm not kidding.
Anyone at Tesla can and should talk/email anyone if they feel it's the best way to resolve an issue for the benefit of the entire company. You can talk to your manager's manager without permission, you can talk directly to the VP of another department, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else's permission. You should even feel obliged to do this until the problem is resolved. The idea here is not to encourage hallway conversations, but rather to ensure that we work quickly and well. We obviously can't compete with the big car manufacturers on size, so we have to do it with our intelligence and agility.
Lastly, managers should work hard to ensure that they do not create silos that could produce an 'us versus them' mentality or prevent communication in any way. This is unfortunately a natural tendency that needs to be actively combated. How could it be helpful for Tesla's different departments to put up barriers between them or to see their success as relative and not collective? We are all in the same boat. Always strive to work for the good of the company and never for your department.