Tesla boss Elon Musk demonstrates how to be a good leader in the face of rule-breaking

Elon Musk demonstrates a crucial reminder for leaders after he found out that some of his employees were offering discounts on cars that were coming out of the factory in pristine condition – something it is company policy never to allow.

Not only does this cost the company some of its profit margin, it also potentially undermines the integrity of the company.

Musk sent an email to his employees addressing the issue, and was sure to offer praise where praise was due, as well as criticism. He even ended the letter with an apology for his “draconian language” and remained civil, yet stern, throughout.

When you next need to address concerns with employees, consider adopting a similar tone. After all, you catch more flies with honey – Elon Musk demonstrates.

You can see how Elon Musk demonstrates the intricacies of being authoritative and stern in his letter below:

First, I’d like to congratulate you on an excellent quarter so far! This is likely to be the best ever in Tesla history thanks in large part to your efforts.

That said, it is absolutely vital that we adhere to the no negotiation and no discount policy that has been true since we first started taking orders ten years ago. This is fundamental to our integrity and we maintained this policy even through the terrible depths of the great recession of 2008/2009.

It is fine to have a discount on cars that have been floor models, were used in test drives or were damaged before delivery. All we are doing there is assigning an accurate price to the vehicle. However, there can never – and I mean never – be a discount on a new car coming out of the factory in pristine condition, where there is no underlying rationale. This is why I always pay full price when I buy a car and the same applies to my family, friends, and celebrities, no matter how famous or influential.

The acid test is that if you can’t explain to a customer who paid full price why another customer didn’t without being embarrassed, then it is not right. We either win in a way that is fair and right or we lose with our honour intact and accept the consequences.

Also, I have asked our finance group to make sure that we only count a car as delivered in a quarter if it is actually delivered. Title transfer alone is irrelevant. Finance will also be reporting every case of a car sold for less than list price, along with the reasoning for doing so, which I will be reviewing personally.

Although this appears to be limited to a small number of cases worldwide, it needs to be zero cases.

I’m sorry for the draconian language, as I am super grateful for your hard work, but there is nothing that matters more than our integrity as a company. Customers need to know with absolute certainty that they can always trust Tesla to do the right thing.

Thanks,

Elon Musk

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