Elon Musk Defies Management Mantras With His Rapid Overhaul at Twitter


Elon Musk’s

first week at Twitter Inc., he flouted a lot of the recommendation administration gurus have dished out for many years.  

The billionaire’s swift actions stand in distinction to these of many new leaders, who typically use the primary 90 days to satisfy with staff, hearken to considerations and assess enhance an organization’s merchandise earlier than embarking on technique shifts, executives and company advisers say.  

“At a minimum, this is an untraditional approach,” mentioned

Joel Peterson,

the previous chairman of

JetBlue Airways Corp.

, who has served on dozens of company boards and suggested chief executives throughout industries. “It’s iconoclastic, it’s unusual, it’s not what everybody would do—but I don’t really fault him for it.” 

Sweeping layoffs at Twitter have eradicated roughly half of the corporate’s workforce.


Leonardo Munoz/VIEWPress/Getty Images

Mr. Musk—who as soon as described himself to The Wall Street Journal as a “nano manager” steeped within the smallest particulars—seems to be employing many of the management tactics he deployed in constructing his different corporations,

Tesla Inc.

and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., executives and advisers say. Those embody a hands-on obsession over product selections, a distaste for corporate structures and a give attention to pace. Tesla is now the world’s most-valuable automobile firm, and SpaceX is the world’s busiest rocket-launch operation.

Management specialists have lengthy mentioned that the primary few months of an government’s tenure are crucial, a time when company chiefs can plot their agenda and start to reset a company tradition. Well-known books on the topic, similar to “You’re in Charge—Now What?” say that new leaders ought to strike a steadiness, setting expectations internally and shaping their administration workforce, whereas studying in regards to the group, too. 

Peter Crist,

chairman of Crist Kolder Associates, an executive-search agency, mentioned new leaders sometimes spend the preliminary months trying to perceive the expertise inside an organization, studying staff’ strengths and weaknesses earlier than making changes to staffing.

“Normally, a CEO from the outside coming in isn’t going to wipe the slate clean on the first day,” Mr. Crist mentioned, including that swift personnel adjustments can create uncertainty for the employees that stay. “There has to be both a stabilization of the enterprise model and importantly a stabilization of the talent, and it’s got to get done relatively soon,” he mentioned.

Mr. Musk is hardly the primary company iconoclast. He can also be greater than acquainted with Twitter, having greater than 100 million followers. 

Twitter Purchased by Elon Musk: A Timeline of How It Happened

On prime of that, he’s buying an organization that for years lagged behind its rivals in attracting customers and producing income, and the trade broadly is facing a slowdown in growth and different challenges which have slashed the valuations of companies similar to


proprietor Meta Platforms Inc. 

Some of Mr. Musk’s early actions struck company veterans as routine. He spent a part of his week assembly with advertisers on video calls and in different settings, aiming to reassure customers that the platform remained a protected place for manufacturers, the Journal reported. Several massive advertisers, together with

General Mills Inc.


Pfizer Inc.,

temporarily paused their advertising. Mr. Musk tweeted on Friday that Twitter had skilled a large drop in income, which he mentioned was resulting from “activist groups pressuring advertisers.”

Hubert Joly,

former CEO of retailer

Best Buy Co.

, mentioned listening excursions with prospects and staff may be useful within the preliminary interval of engineering a turnaround. When Mr. Joly took the reins of Best Buy in 2012, he spent days in retail shops observing buyer conduct and holding pizza conferences with staffers. In these gatherings, he requested three inquiries to staff: “‘What’s working? What’s not working? What do you need?’” Mr. Joly mentioned.

Elon Musk has bought Twitter, ending a monthslong saga over whether or not or not he would undergo together with his provide to amass the social media platform. WSJ takes an inside take a look at the tweets, texts and filings to see precisely how the battle performed out. Illustration: Jordan Kranse

Mr. Joly mentioned that whereas he wished to behave quick, he resisted the temptation to rapidly shut shops or lower head depend, as some proposed, or to right away impose his concepts on the group with out understanding the present dynamics. “My job was easy: Show up, ask these questions, listen carefully, take notes, and do what I was told because they had all of the answers,” he mentioned of staff.

Mr. Musk has solicited suggestions from some Twitter customers, together with distinguished ones. He requested the writer Stephen King whether or not he would consider paying a price of $8 a month to have his account verified. Members of Mr. Musk’s workforce additionally polled Twitter customers a few subscription characteristic. 


What do you consider Musk’s administration fashion? Join the dialog beneath.

Twitter on Saturday mentioned it has begun rolling out software program updates to charge users $7.99 a month for its Twitter Blue subscription service, up from $4.99 at present. Subscribers get their accounts verified, a service that has been free and gives a blue verify mark to notable accounts.

Mr. Musk has mentioned previously that he believes CEOs err once they allocate an excessive amount of of their schedule to conferences, moderately than specializing in refining a product. “Spend less time on finance, spend less time in conference rooms, less time on PowerPoint and more time just trying to make your product as amazing as possible,” he mentioned in a Journal interview in 2020. 

During an government’s first few days at an organization, although, leaders can change into overwhelmed, advisers say. Some say you will need to give attention to key strategic selections, assemble a workforce after which delegate. 

At an funding discussion board in New York on Friday, Mr. Musk mentioned that after shopping for Twitter, he’s now working 120 hours every week as a substitute of his typical 70 or 80 hours. Still, he anticipated that to finally change. “Once Twitter’s set on the right path, it’ll be much easier to manage than SpaceX or Tesla,” Mr. Musk mentioned.

Write to Chip Cutter at [email protected]

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