What thanks to Twitter Elon Musk could leave us in terms of how to lead
Shortly after Elon Musk took over Twitter last October, he made a comment that marked a pivotal moment for the company and the broader understanding of work. Not circumscribed to a company, nor to a sector. In clear reference to how work is being understood by the new generations of professionals.
Musk warned that employees must either commit to an “extremely tough” work culture or quit.
Musk’s approach to work could be seen as an almost Platonic ideal of “hustle culture” (we can also refer to it as “stress culture”) taken to its extreme, a view in which self-esteem is defined by self-esteem. tireless work and effort. But addiction to work can have bad consequences. The belief that taking breaks is a sign of weakness can even prove deadly: in 2017, for example, a Japanese journalist died of heart failure, after 159 overtime hours in one month.
Addiction to work
For business school students, the backlash to Musk’s thinking should be instructive. Influencers and CEOs who sell autobiographies and try to impress investors tend to value workaholism. But researchers are increasingly asking whether it makes any sense when running a good or ethical business.
A change of acceptance of the effort in the young professional generations
Silvia Bellezza, associate professor of business in marketing at Columbia Business School in New York, says the resistance to the pressures of being overworked reflects a broader change among young professionals. And this situation occurs as a response (action-reaction principle) to the movements that occurred in previous years in which the culture of effort and excessive dedication was glorified, which was also sometimes described as “culture of exhaustion “.
“In the past, conspicuous abstention from work conveyed prestige,” she says, “but an overworked, hectic lifestyle increasingly became a status symbol and badge of honor.” The modern “rock star” CEO is often described as a “workaholic,” says Bellezza.
Twitter and the installation of beds at its headquarters
Perhaps the most telling symbol of Twitter’s jolt into hustle culture was the installation of beds at its headquarters, a move that prompted San Francisco city officials to begin investigating the company for possible code violations. construction. Musk himself declared that “nobody changed the world 40 hours a week.”
The lessons that the pandemic left
But elsewhere, Covid-19 has already sparked a shift away from busy culture, and many white-collar workers who worked from home during the pandemic now prefer to spend less time traveling and more time with their families.
“Many professionals, especially younger ones, began to question their pre-pandemic workaholic lifestyles and seek more free time for themselves,” says Bellezza.
Employees have previously taken to LinkedIn to post promotions with impressive titles and higher salaries, but Bellezza says many are now bragging online about resigning, reflecting the “great resignation” and workers leaving their roles.
Lay on the floor
The change is not limited to the United States, as in China, the 2021 “tang ping” movement (which means “lie down on the ground”) emerged as a symbol of protest against a hyper-competitive job market and other social pressures. facing Chinese millennials and Generation Z.
“These trends and observations point to the fact that busyness and long work hours don’t seem to have the appeal they once did, before the pandemic, for new generations of managers,” Bellezza says.
All levels of the current organization are affected
That should give business students pause for thought when considering how to motivate employees. They might also consider how the culture they impose affects workers at all levels of the corporate ladder.
The impact on microwork
A report published last year by the independent research organization Autonomy studied the culture of hustle in “microwork”: short tasks performed on digital platforms ranging from translation exercises and surveys to data coding to teaching algorithms.
“These are lower income people with no permanent job,” says James Muldoon, one of the authors. “What they told us was that they were really influenced by CEOs and influencers and felt that they needed to always be productive.”
The claim by many self-help gurus, as well as influencers and CEOs, that hard work and action alone are responsible for success is profoundly misleading.
Inequality of opportunity
“The whole culture of saying ‘you’re not working hard enough’ masks the inequities of opportunity people have,” Muldoon says. “No matter how hard a micro-worker works, they won’t have the opportunities that a billionaire has. This idea that we all have 24 hours a day and work harder than everyone else, that’s nonsense.”
The result of leadership vision
For Muldoon, the most important lesson for students is that company policies don’t simply arise in a vacuum: they are the result of the vision that their leadership pursues and implements. “An important point is that entrepreneurs are making conscious decisions to establish particular business models,” he says. “They don’t have to choose the most exploitative models, which impose the greatest responsibility and risk on others.”
“Desperate people will always be forced into difficult and dangerous jobs, which is why we have labor laws,” he says. “If you are starting to contribute to a business, you have the ability to decide what it will look like.”
Elon Musk’s Twitter Acquisition: 5 Key Lessons for Business Owners
Elon Musk is a man who needs no introduction. He is a legendary entrepreneur who does things that seem like something out of a science fiction novel. Whether it’s battery-powered cars or private space shuttles, Musk has created some of the most amazing things on the planet.
However, Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was quite surprising. Why would a person who is so into technology get involved in a social media platform of all things? Well, we still don’t understand this.
But there are many other things that all entrepreneurs can learn from this event. We are going to discuss 5 key lessons from Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter that entrepreneurs should keep in mind.
Lesson 1: You can buy almost anything with the right money and a solid reputation.
Do you want to buy a new pair of shoes? You will need around 44 dollars. Do you want to buy a new car? Well, maybe for $44,000 you can have one. And if you want to buy one of the most popular social media platforms, even that is possible if you have $44 billion. However, there is one key aspect that we need to discuss here.
Elon Musk didn’t go it alone and put that impressive sum of cash on the table and bought Twitter like candy. Because there were several financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, that provided him with 13,000 million in debt financing. Now, no bank is going to give such an amount of money to any businessman. However, they gave this huge sum to Musk because, well, because he’s Elon Musk!
Musk has a proven track record of using big money wisely.
In 2002, after selling PayPal to eBay, Musk had about $170 million left. Here’s how he used that money: He dedicated $100 million to SpaceX, $50 million to Tesla, and $10 million to SolarCity.
Although the latter is no more, both SpaceX and Tesla are making billions to this day. Musk has shown the world how he can turn seven digits into ten digits. That is why investors trust him with a lot of money. This signifies the importance of reputation in the business world. Maybe no one would sell Twitter to a $50 billion lottery winner. However, if it is about Elon Musk, then they may consider it.
Therefore, a first conclusion that can be drawn from this story is that it was not only money that helped Elon Musk take over Twitter, but also his successful record as an entrepreneur.
A unique set of ongoing challenges.
Buying companies that are highly politically inclined can present a unique set of ongoing challenges. And just look at his early decisions: Musk fired thousands of his employees on Twitter, but it’s hard to find replacements. That is why you should always plan the HR side of things beforehand.
When you buy a well-known brand, most people don’t care about the brand’s new owner. They are more attached to the brand itself, not the owner.
Mergers and acquisitions must be carried out under the supervision of experts. M&A consultants can be of great help in these types of events.
Lesson 2: Mixing politics and business can result in unprecedented events
Politics and power go hand in hand. Since the dawn of human civilization, humans have engaged in political battles to expand their territory, gain more power and prestige, and acquire generational wealth. The advent of the Internet only brought this battle online. Politicians and political enthusiasts began using Twitter to gain support for themselves and to disengage support from their opponents. It is said that even the staff of Twitter were heavily involved in politics. A company that is so engaged in politics on such a large scale has probably never existed before.
In addition, Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was also deeply influenced by politics. It seems that he felt that Twitter was under the control of a particular political group. When the Twitter acquisition was formally completed, Musk tweeted: “The bird is released.” To which Thierry Breton, the European Union’s Internal Market Commissioner, replied: “In Europe, the bird will fly according to our EU rules.”
So what can we learn from this? Well, first, if you get involved in businesses that are politically oriented, you will face many more legal and bureaucratic challenges. Even if you are the official owner of the business, politicians who disagree with you will find ways to get you to operate in their own way. Second, being politically neutral as a company won’t completely free you from red tape. However, it will make running a business much easier.
Lesson 3: Old employees are hard to replace
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know how Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover resulted in thousands of layoffs. The result? Well, the remaining employees have to work twice as hard and get burned. The boss even told them to work hard or go home. In his own words, Musk said: “This will mean working long hours at a high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”
It seems he assumed that after laying off thousands of employees, he could find 5,000 new hires just hanging around. However, this was far from the truth. The company seems to be struggling to stay afloat. And the reason behind it is not money, it is human resources.
To make matters worse, Musk ordered most of his employees to abandon remote work and return to the office. Before Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, Twitter, like Facebook and Google, had some of the most liberal and progressive working arrangements in the world. Now all these conveniences have disappeared in the company. That is why so many employees, who were not fired, left the company on their own.
Let’s hope Elon Musk knows what he’s doing. Because no one can run such a gigantic and global social media platform without people.
Lesson 4: Customers care about the brand, not who owns the brand
According to Statista, the number of Twitter users in 2022 was 329 million and is expected to grow to 340.2 million by 2024.
But why? Why is the number of Twitter users growing despite the negative publicity? Well, this means that ultimately most users care what they get out of something. Users just want a good experience and value from a platform; most of them don’t care about office politics. Elon Musk even plans to monetize users who create good content on Twitter. This means that Twitter could become a direct competitor to YouTube, which only pays creators 55% of the ad revenue they bring to the video-sharing platform.
At least Musk, being an incredibly successful businessman, understands this part of consumer behavior. He knows that if he can provide the market with something better than what’s out there, there’s no way he can fail. This teaches us a vital lesson: once you’ve built a strong brand image in the minds of users, it can’t be reversed overnight. However, Musk still has to hurry up and show his magic before people start to view the Twitter brand as a negative.
Lesson 5: M&A must be managed by experts
Whether you are merging two existing companies into one, or acquiring an existing company, you should always hire M&A experts. It is a tedious and lengthy process, but we can shed some light on some important factors. So, let’s quickly discuss the actions you should take before acquiring a business.
Due diligence: This must be done. You should verify all background, financial, legal, and other verification information before taking on someone’s company.
Human resource planning: When companies merge or are acquired, team members experience a lot of stress. For most people, mergers and acquisitions are synonymous with layoffs. So don’t do what Musk did. He plans the HR side of things ahead of time.
Strategic Alignment: How does a company’s acquisition align with its strategic corporate interests? You must have a clear vision about where you want to take a company after acquiring it.
Hire M&A Consultants: M&A consultants can help you choose the right companies to merge or acquire. To be precise, they can help you with target identification, due diligence, debt and equity financing, and business valuation. It is recommended that you do not manage any Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) deal alone if you do not have sufficient experience doing so. Fortunately, there are many independent consultants available today.
3 More Lessons Every Leader Can Learn From Musk’s Twitter Post
The last few weeks of Elon Musk’s business life have been unusually tumultuous even for him. First, he bought a large amount of Twitter stock, which he kept secret for longer than he legally should have. Then came his successful campaign to join Twitter’s board. That effort ended abruptly when he decided to resign from his board seat and buy out the entire company. He offered $54.20 a share, a price that incorporates his favorite number, 420, which is often used as a code for marijuana. After first taking a reactionary position, presumably to oust Musk, Twitter’s board of directors reversed course and voted to accept the offer.
Questions about the prevalence of bots on Twitter
But not so fast. Musk announced that he was putting the deal on hold because he had questions about the prevalence of bots on Twitter. We are talking about the famous fake news.
The only problem is that, having made a firm offer in writing without regard to due diligence, Musk may not have had any legal right to stop the deal. So, with Twitter’s stock price plummeting, a Twitter shareholder sued him and hoped to start a class action lawsuit against him.
Musk is always fun to watch, watching his successes and struggles, which can also teach you a lot about what works and what doesn’t, both in business and in life.
1º) Acting on impulse could work for you. Or not.
Do you remember how The Boring Company started? Musk found himself stuck in a traffic jam in Los Angeles and tweeted from behind the wheel that a drilling rig would be built and begin tunneling under highways. It seemed like a joke, and he felt compelled to add, “Actually, I’m going to do this.”
Considering that it was founded on a whim, The Boring Company is doing better than you might expect. It’s had a few hiccups, but it has a tunnel up and running in Las Vegas, and it’s valued at $5.7 billion.
But that doesn’t mean that every time Musk acts on impulse, or you do, it will work out just fine. His decision to buy Twitter outright, rather than take a board seat as a majority shareholder, certainly sounds like a push. His announcement that he was pausing the purchase due to concerns about bot accounts seems impulsive and disingenuous. Musk certainly knew before making his offer that bots were rampant on the platform. At this point, it’s unclear if either decision will work out well for him. Sometimes impulsive acts don’t.
2º) The fact that you are very good at some things does not mean that you are good at everything.
Musk’s extraordinary success is based on extraordinary skills. He seems capable of solving almost any engineering problem and has literally taught himself how to be a rocket scientist. He launched the electric car industry into the mainstream, and may even succeed in his plan to colonize Mars. Also, he is the richest person in the world.
All this could make us believe that Musk will excel in everything he does, but it is not true. He can’t carry a tune. And for all his talk about how Twitter should allow any speech that isn’t against the law, he doesn’t know how to fix Twitter’s problems. He half-admitted it himself at the recent TED conference when asked about details, saying, “I don’t have all the answers here.”
3º) Emotional intelligence really matters.
Musk has, at times, displayed a striking lack of emotional intelligence, for example when he smoked marijuana in front of millions of viewers on Joe Rogan’s podcast, or when he called a British diver working on the Thai cave rescue “guy fart”.
It turns out that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism, as he revealed to himself on Saturday Night Live. People on the autism spectrum generally lack intuitive empathy and emotional intelligence and must instead learn these skills.
In Musk’s case, it seems he still has something to learn. Twitter employees were already spooked, with many sending in their CVs even before Musk tweeted that if he completed the Twitter purchase, “work ethic expectations would be extreme.” It’s still a tight job market, especially for tech talent. Whatever Musk intends or wants for Twitter, a mass exodus of experienced employees isn’t going to help him get there.
High levels of emotional intelligence will also be needed to navigate Twitter’s pressing questions about whether and when to limit expression on the platform. Is Musk up to the job?
What business leaders can learn from Elon Musk’s early actions and decisions on Twitter
Within a week of taking over Twitter, Elon Musk was facing several crises. In fact, the company may have set a record for the number of crises that hit an organization so quickly.
Any of the crises, such as the layoff of thousands of employees, the drastic drop in revenue caused by the increasing number of companies pulling their advertising, opposition from advocacy groups, or the loss of a million users, any of these circumstances would represent a serious challenge for any organization.
Musk faces each of these challenges, and more, at the same time.
The self-inflicted nature of his crises that resulted from his actions and posts, and how he handles situations, provide crucial lessons for corporate executives.
Tell your side of the story
You must act quickly to tell your side of the story about a crisis and the reasons behind your actions.
The BBC reported that “Yoel Roth, the company’s head of security and integrity, appeared to confirm in a tweet thread that ‘approximately 50%’ of Twitter’s staff had been cut across the company! And he added that “most of the more than 2,000 content moderators “working on the frontline review” were not affected by the cuts.
Musk posted his own comments, saying he was presented with “no choice”
Musk posted his own comments, saying he was presented with “no choice” about what he called Twitter’s “reduction in force,” as the company was losing $4 million a day.
He insisted that all those who lose their jobs be offered three months of severance pay, which is 50% more than the legal requirement.
Get the priorities right
In any crisis, it is important to decide what to do or say and how those actions or words should be prioritized.
“By trying to present an anything-goes philosophy when it comes to managing content on Twitter, Musk is alienating the people he needs most to thrive,” said Nicholas Creel, an assistant professor of business law at Georgia College and State University.
“Both advertisers and users of Twitter are simply not willing to be a part of the platform if he makes these changes, and yet he apparently remains committed to seeing it through,” he predicted.
Consider stakeholder wishes
The lesson here is that if a company wants to be financially successful, it has to consider the wishes of the stakeholders that are vital to its success.
Review Communication Plans
“Business leaders can take advantage of Twitter’s public development situation to review their own company’s communication plans for when they themselves are in the media spotlight,” said Carla Bevins, assistant professor of business communication at the School Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon Universityb.
While Musk uses an “I wing it” approach, most other CEOs use detailed long-term company plans that involve communication professionals, lawyers and advisers.
Control the narrative
Quick communication of company responses is key. In business, it is essential to quickly control the narrative that any company sends.
“If you don’t take control of the information being communicated from your company, then there’s a good chance someone else will fill that information gap and highlight your company when you may not be ready. It can be difficult to get a situation back under control if online and social media create an alternative narrative to the one you want to share. Clear and ongoing communication is essential,” Bevins advised.
As business leaders, it can be disorienting and frustrating for employees and consumers when a company’s messages are inconsistent.
That’s why Bevins suggests the following: “My advice to business professionals, regardless of your communication style, be intentional with your choice of words and the audiences you’re communicating with. You want others to listen to you, so it’s important to connect with them and build trust with them. Recognize that words have power far beyond a single tweet.”
Personalize the tone, messages and communication style
Elon Musk’s communication style is more informal, and as a result, different parts of him resonate with a variety of different people. As business leaders, it is important to think about how the tone and style of the message fit with the needs of the target audience.
“Elon Musk has shown that there can be little accountability when he acts impulsively or “publicly brainstorms” his ideas on Twitter on Twitter. Business leaders need to work closely with their communication team to best utilize the power of social media for positive brand building,” Bevins advised.