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Elon Musk Pivotal HR Solutions Blog

Leaked Tesla Employee Handbook is visionary — a peak inside a hard-working corporate culture and a manual that does it right

Tesla’s new employee handbook has been leaked, and it is providing insight for all non-employees into the inner-workings of Elon Musk’s mind and his unconventional leadership. Like him or not, Elon Musk inspires with visionary concepts. The Tesla Employee Handbook, recently leaked, is a peak not only into the visionary mind of Elon Musk — but provides a good reference for HR Managers struggling to draft their own Employee Handbooks. (Or, in this case, “Anti-Handbook Handbook.)


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Tesla car.


Anti-Handbook Handbook

The four-page handbook is titled the ‘Anti-Handbook Handbook’ and consists of two sections; ‘Stupid Stuff’ and ‘Fun Stuff’ section. “The tone and content of the handbook are relatively open and direct, ambitious and no-nonsense,” Dr. Tom Calvard, Senior Lecturer at University of Edinburgh Business School.

The fascination around this handbook stems from its unconventional content and approach to attain success. For one, instead of urging employees to follow the rules, the handbook provides a window into just how far Elon Musk’s unconventional strategy goes to ensure Tesla does not follow the rules.

“We’re Tesla. We’re willing to rethink everything. We’re different, and we like it that way,” says the leaked handbook.



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Even though using a handbook to ensure rules are not adhered to seems like it defeats the purpose of a handbook, the anti-handbook is completely on point. Musk built and nurtured the image of Tesla as a rebel, which has not only enhanced awareness of the brand but also entices and captivates the imagination of the target market. Also, being unconventional eliminates the burden of conforming to societal norms and frees the company to focus on more important aspects. The handbook says, “Being different allows us to do what no one else is doing; to do what others tell us is impossible.”

Stupid Stuff Section?

Under the Stupid Stuff section, “We can’t afford to waste time dealing with stupid stuff when we have so many important things to get done.” The unconventional manner in which Musk drives home the importance of Tesla continuing to act like Tesla for the success of the company can only be defined as visionary.

The importance of Tesla’s success is drilled in over and over again in a conversational manner rather than the forceful and commanding strategy used in conventional handbooks that seem like orders being handed down by the boss. Using a conversational tone enhances the absorption of the content and the effectiveness of the handbook.


Elon Musk Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Elon Musk, founder and visionary of Tesla and other companies.



The handbook creatively states, “Your #1 job — everyone’s #1 job — is making this company a success.”

The document goes on to urge employees to contribute to Tesla’s success by stating,

“You have a personal stake in Tesla’s success, so make suggestions and share your ideas. Your good ideas mean nothing if you keep them to yourself.”

The anti-handbook empowers employees to guarantee the success of the company. Office politics, territorialism, and towing the superiority-line are some of the impediments to success because it suppresses the ideas of low-ranking employees regardless of usefulness. To avoid the unfavorable situation where good ideas go to waste, Elon Musk utilizes the anti-handbook to squash the notion of ranking and jurisdiction. “If you see opportunities to improve the way we do things, speak up even if these are outside your area of responsibility,” the handbook insists. “You can talk to anyone without anyone else’s permission,” the document says. “Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens.” This is a positive approach, according to Sir Cary Cooper, Professor at Alliance Manchester Business School. “Most people would never go to a CEO under any circumstances,” he said.

Fun section

Tesla is synonymous with fun, and unhappy employees cannot maintain this image in the long-run. To advance the company’s fun-loving culture, the handbook’s Fun Section states,

“Make sure you’re having fun at work…if you aren’t having fun at some level, you’ll be unhappy. We don’t want that…We want you to work hard, love what you do, and have fun.”


Do you need help creating your visionary Employee Handbook? Contact the experts at Pivotal Solutions:

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