Steve Pruneau and Asher Black kick around (in 7 minutes) Twitter CEO Elon Musk's offer to step down if employees prefer. Symptom of a brewing #bossrebellion
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Another brewing boss rebellion. So the c e O of Twitter, everyone knows Elon. Has offered to step down on a poll, an opinion poll through Twitter if his employees prefer, if they don't like him, if they don't like the way he is running the company, et cetera. And what I think is amazing about this is , there's no way that Musk understands what he has unleashed upon corporate America.
I wonder if some executives are starting to think about it. It's corporate democracy. . I mean, think about this. In the average company, right, there's a command and control hierarchy. So you have the people that show up and we don't believe they will keep working the way the CEO hopes. The same reason he keeps working because he's interested in what he does.
He's passionate about achieving things. He shares the values of the company. He wants to drive it in a certain direction and see it perform. No, they won't do the work unless somebody stands over 'em and cracks the whip and making sure they. So we have a supervisory level. And over the supervisory level, the problem is why is the supervisor motivated?
No. So instead we hire a middle management layer. Those people show up to make sure the supervisor is actually turning in reports, the report on the people doing the thing. And then we gotta make sure that middle management is actually not a kingdom under themselves. So we have senior management watching middle management.
But what if Bill and a bunch of people over in the place where the operations actually get achieved and things actually get done, could start an opinion poll and say, you know, we don't think Kevin, the manager on this level of the totem pole, actually contributes a lot to the company. He doesn't do anything.
We make everything. He just watches us, tells us that he just comes around to make sure we're actually doing the thing we're already doing and we are. And so in the end, what do we need Kevin for? Let's get rid of him. What if you could. I mean, in a way, I have hope it happens in CEOs in America. I think in some cases if their adventures will be much happier.
But I bet there's a lot of people that are in favor of this old command and control hierarchy that are cringing right now going Elan, be quiet. Put that back where it came from.Steve Pruneau:
Yeah, yeah, for sure. But the, the, the thing is that's how we are in the rest of our lives, right? How many friends do we have where we put up with their demands and, oh, you are subservient to me?
Or how many organizations do we stay involved in? How many hobbies or sports do, do we hang around where there's that rigid, you must perform, as I say, type of situation. And I would su suggest that most of us will not put up with that. And so, Work is the only exception. It makes sense that this is where it goes, but for a lot of CEOs who are accustomed to handling everything by command, how are we going to lead in, in a world where everybody has a say in how the, how things are getting.Asher Black:
Oh, that's certainly a, a major shift. Musk is articulating this company culture. He's declaring company culture by fiat, and companies are trying this, by the way, I, Putin shall declare that the culture of Russia shall be X and everybody must obey.
We get this dictatorial kind of thing of, I've pronounced a company culture. Let me tell you what it is. So Musk is doing that, and the company culture is something he calls hardcore. And he's, he's drawing on all this sort of traditional entrepreneurial language and sort of the outdated crony capitalism, good old boys club kind of thing to say that people don't work anymore.
People don't have any values. They want to come to work and have fun. They want to come to work and find and work for a company that shares, , their general perspective on life, et cetera. And no, none of this is right. , mu Musk is articulating a re reductionist view, a stripped down. Of the worker. Sure.
The ceo, the billionaire CEO with the Playboy Mansion and the private jet, and the Lamborghini is allowed to have fun. But you people are supposed to give the most productive eight hours of your life out of the best years of your life, the best time of your existence to the company without thought to anything other than the check.
That's your one thing. When the problem is, it doesn't really honor what capitalism is, which has evolved to give people more choice, which is what capitalism does. And people now wanna bring their values to a company and work for companies that share their values. They don't wanna be in a value, they wanna make work a value neutral environment.
They wanna make work. A repository of transcendent meaning. So we're down to this question of, are we back to the culture of our employees are our greatest assets? When we start referring to everybody that works here as part of our stable of employees? Mo or are we, are we at a place where to create employer employer engagement instead of a disconnect?
We're going to have to have values, not just in the executive relationships, the people at the coroner office who can have longer vacations and decent healthcare. We're gonna have to have values actually, , contribute to the shape of the workforce at every level of the company.Steve Pruneau:
Well, that, that's where the magic happens, right? We're trying, we see so many examples of people trying to force things, but really those kinds of magical situations where people love what they're doing, they're producing results they generally trust and like each other, , and at least in terms of the team spirit, that that evolves.
All of that is a natural thing. It comes from authenticity. From the values it's a almost a jealous thing, right? To see it happen with somebody else's team or somebody else's company. How can I get that? I want that. , because everything is better.
The feeling you get the things you build and the money is all better when you have that situation. And of course you've got, , , the board and the shareholders at, at everybody's back saying, yeah, make that. . And so what do they do? They try to make that happen. .Asher Black:
I mean, it's like Bloomberg trying to buy an election or something.
You know? Musk is basically trying to buy a company culture, not just buy the company in terms of owning the right, the stock, but buy the people. And this is the problem. Yeah. Is you can't really come in and do that. It's sort of like, Hey, look, every movie that we all sit around and. is about having a crew, whether it's Oceans 11 or if you're in my generation, it was sneakers, right?
Love that film. Robert Redford and, and a bunch of other great. . This is about tight-knit people who have worked together before. Respect each other, see each other's contributing value. Everybody understands that. That guy's a little weird, but he does contribute. That guy's different than we are. He is got some crazy theories, but he adds value.
What they're looking around and going, what is this guy Musk actually doing for the company? And why do we have to break up all of this and only keep the people that report directly upstairs, et cetera. It's, it's like animal Farm as a company. And I wanna say that this disconnect between enjoying yourself at that level.
It's almost like there's a jealousy, right? I can just see Mark Zuckerberg jealous that people are having fun on Facebook, and that doesn't involve him. You've got another social media head sort of jealous that people are, have their own thing and they're not inviting him to the party.
He kind of tries to take over and say that, well, this is not that kind of party. You guys are dancing. We're gonna, we're gonna all play checkers. But the, he's, he's in the position that Trump was, you know, remember Trump won the election and didn't know, didn't think he was gonna win. Then when he won, he didn't want to have won.
It was more like, like Musk. He wanted to throw his weight around, be the big swinging telephone pole in the room, get the company, , and, and use his influence to get the company to do what he wants, but the actual running. And having to be committed to somebody and show up and, and be a contributor, which is what a leader is, doesn't want to do it.
And yet Trump doesn't let go. He goes ahead and takes the job, and then he can't even leave office gracefully. Instead, he's got a clinging to control and you see Musk doing this same thing. The question is, would you rather love your work and love your life? Or would you rather be in charge? And so far, he hasn't stepped down.
He's done the poll. He's promised to step down. He's saying, when I find somebody suitable, there'll be an, there'll be a successor. Somebody I, a crony he could control, et cetera. But in inevitably, he's still clinging to this command and control architecture because people who have control don't give up control.
Because the only other alternative is the possibility. The possibility that people left to their own devices, self-motivated, their values engage, their spirit of enjoyment, and their cam. , we'll actually get a hell of a lot more done than a command and control hierarchy with levels of management creating a hardcore culture.Steve Pruneau:
That's the thing, right? We want to enjoy our work. And that's where the excitement comes from, is when people like what they're doing, like the people they're working with. I imagine not enough CEOs are, are taking this approach. They just, well, you know, I wanna stay in control because this is a prestigious job.
And man, isn't it cool to be a captain of industry way at the top? But in the end, you get to the end of your road. , it still kind of was crappy, right? , I've never heard anyone say, you know, I had a miserable experience, but, but the money in the prestige really outweighed it. Like, no
people in general are saying, I'm gonna have this. It's not, I hope to have this. We're now at a time when people are saying, I'm gonna have this. But now that's bubbling up to the CEO level too. And so for the CEOs who are saying, yeah, I'm, I'm in this business because I love it. , I love what I do, it's a chance to make a difference, and let's do this together.
Those are the businesses that are gonna have some of that magic.