Best known for his role as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk is one of the wealthiest people in the world. He made his fortune in the field of technology. Born in South Africa, he moved to Los Angeles to chase his dreams in the fabled Silicon Valley. Beginning with Zip2, he founded and sold technology companies. He was the co-founder of online money transfer giant PayPal and currently runs a rocket company known as SpaceX. The billionaire is one of only two individuals in the world who have founded and sold three companies for billions of dollars. Often described as a builder and an inventor all rolled into one, Elon Musk is definitely one of the greatest achievers on the planet. Here are 10 mind blowing lessons we learned from Elon Musk on success.
1. Have a powerful vision
The most successful leaders usually have a powerful vision. They share it with their teams and chart a sure path on how they are going to achieve it. Moreover, they are able to exert influence so that other people can see their point of view. Just like Elon Musk, successful leaders have a revolutionary vision. Not only do their ideas have a positive effect, they completely change the way the industry works. He co-founded PayPal and transformed the industry of money transfer across the world. Therefore, Elon teaches us the lesson of having a vision that is transformational and powerful.
2. You must execute your ideas well
The success of an idea depends on how well it is executed. One that receives no action remains simply as an idea while one that is executed effectively can grow into superb business. Elon Musk indicates that you need to have an innovative team to execute your ideas. With their participation, you can come up with business models that are solid. This will lead to healthy financial returns and eventually successful execution of your vision. Therefore, your idea is only as good as how you execute it.
3. Good ideas can spring from anyone, anywhere
One of the interesting things that Elon Musk has done is to make his ideas open-source. He has proposed them to the public and asked for factual improvement whenever and wherever possible. By doing this, he teaches us that great leaders take advantage of existing communication infrastructures so as to allow larger groups of people to take part in solving a problem. Elon understands that he may be smart, but the collective effort of a group of people can give results that he could not have achieved on his own. This is known as teamwork.
4. Think big
Looking at Elon's history of innovation, the billionaire's ideas don't just create a single product, they have a lasting impact on the industry. PayPal changed the financial industry by digitizing money transfer and making it easy for people around the world to send and receive money online. His SpaceX program has a lasting impact on space travel. He wants to make commercial space travel possible. Elon Musk thinks big and through his exploits, he teaches us how to do it too.
5. Practice integrity
To develop his electric car company known as Tesla, Elon Musk borrowed heavily from the U.S. government. The company has become a huge success and is selling thousands of units. After making a good revenue, Elon paid back his $400 million loan. He said that he was grateful to the Department of Energy and all stakeholders who loaned him the money. He paid them back as soon as he could. In this way, he conducted honest business and we can learn to do the same from him.
6. Seek out constructive criticism
Many people shy away from criticism. We would rather enjoy compliments, criticism tells us what is wrong with us or the things that we do. Compliments simply tell us how great we are. The main difference between the two is that criticism helps us to become better by pointing out our mistakes. Elon Musk constantly seeks criticism. When he spoke with the automobile engineers during the development of the Tesla electric car, he asked them to tell him what was wrong with his design instead of what was good about it. In this way, he learned his mistakes and fixed them. Look for constructive criticism and learn from it. This is a valuable lesson from the technology billionaire.
7. Learn the fundamentals and use the knowledge to your benefit
One of the most revolutionary inventions that Elon Musk has come up with is Tesla Energy. This is an initiative that creates battery packs which have enough power to sustain homes. During the development of these packs, he spoke with engineers and they told him that his idea was impossible. They said that the accepted methods of creating batteries did not allow for such amounts of power to be stored in such small units. Elon disagreed with them and literally took apart the modern battery so as to find ways of making his vision a reality. He found ways to adjust the parts of the battery such that it was cheaper to produce and stored much more energy. Elon challenged the accepted methods of doing things and emerged with an innovative, affordable, new result. He teaches us to ask questions and challenge how things are done to make them better.
8. Focus on the most important activity in your enterprise
Elon Musk, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg all have two things in common. They run billion dollar companies and they understand the power of focus. They agree that it is better to focus your effort on making a product better instead of focusing your effort on how to sell it to the market. Elon specifically indicates that he would rather under-market a revolutionary product than promote a mediocre one. Apply this lesson in your life and it can increase the quality of your products or services.
9. Consider failure in your plans and come up with a back-up plan
The main reason why we don't do what we desire is because we are afraid of failure. For example, we don't apply for our dream jobs because we are afraid to fail. We also don't approach people who we think are attractive because we are afraid to fail. Instead of letting this fear stop you, you should acknowledge it and come up with a plan to handle its effects. Before he started the SpaceX program, Elon Musk dedicated $100 million to the endeavor. He said that if he failed to launch a rocket into space with that budget, he would shut down operations and shelve the idea. His first two launches cost him $90 million and they both failed. The third one cost him $10 million and it succeeded. From this we learn not to be afraid of failure by coming up with a plan to manage it.
10. Make every effort to build an organization whose culture and ideals are similar to yours
Elon Musk is well known for his ruthless leadership style. He fires employees over small mistakes. Moreover, he will never accept that something is impossible. Anyone who suggests this gets fired too. He has very high performance expectations of the people around him. Many may criticize it but it helps him to get closer to his vision of advancing human civilization and establishing human communities on Mars. From this we learn that you should surround yourself with the people who share your vision and are just as dedicated to it as you are.
The Important Take Away
He is considered the most future-oriented person in the world. Elon Musk is definitely a pioneer in the world of technology. By following his lessons of success, we can become pioneers in our own fields too. Let's follow our wildest and boldest dreams too.