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  • Writer's pictureRoger Grant

Greatness requires extreme effort and relentless creativity

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

We hope you’re having a fantastic Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.

This is also a turbulent time when organisations follow through with their restructuring plans. For Tesla’s case, Elon Musk announced a 7% reduction in full-time employment, despite 2018 being their most successful year in history and making a profit in Q3.

Restructuring causes a lot of stress and uncertainty. People will be sad or angry. The office gossip mill will start turning: “It’s political”, “Leadership screwed up again”. We blame the leaders. We blame HR.


But what looks like a people problem is usually a situation problem. In Tesla’s case, their products are still too expensive for most people and they are competing against entrenched industry giants. There was also an unwritten message: Making a loss is not an option.

It’s a tough message to deliver. We don’t like receiving bad news. It’s only human that we run away from delivering it. It takes tremendous clarity of thought and compassion to deliver it.

As Elon Musk puts it in an extraordinarily frank letter to his employees earlier this year, “Sorry for all these numbers, but I want to make sure that you know all the facts and figures and understand that the road ahead is very difficult. This is not new for us – we have always faced significant challenges – but it is the reality we face”.


He expressed gratitude to the people who were affected: “To those departing, thank you for everything you have done to advance our mission. I am deeply grateful for your contributions to Tesla. We would not be where we are today without you.”

He gave hope to those who are still standing: “For those remaining, although there are many challenges ahead, I believe we have the most exciting product roadmap of any consumer product company in the world.”

“For those remaining, although there are many challenges ahead, I believe we have the most exciting product roadmap of any consumer product company in the world.”


Change is not easy. But easy is not the goal, greatness is. The work is never done. As leaders, it’s our job to work each day to chart the right course, rally the team down the rabbit hole and make corrections when we inevitably fail. We must not be afraid of it. We must accept it, just as we accept the weather.

It seemed like Elon Musk had a message for every leader out there who is dancing at the edge of greatness: “Attempting to build (better) products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity, but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause”.

Is your organisation dancing at the edge of greatness? Are you looking to empower your people to own and lead change in 2019? Talk to us about bringing Fight Club Leadership programme to your organisation.

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PERSONNA is a leadership development company focused on the people side of transformation. We hold a simple belief that everyone is an extraordinary and powerful force for positive change. When you make work personal, naturally you become a better leader.

We’re here to help people become better leaders, build highly-effective teams, and create a culture of trust & collaboration in their organisations. We provide leadership branding, leadership coaching and group experiences. If you are curious to learn more drop us an email to

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