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5 things I learned from Tesla's Anti-Handbook



Tesla ’s Anti-Handbook Handbook leaked several weeks ago.

Let’s check out 5 secrets I learned about Tesla’s success.

Create a unique style of company culture

Tesla is known for its maverick, like its founder Elon Musk.

Regardless of criticism, Tesla looks quite different in the automotive industry. It plays a game-changer role since it started.

For instance, Telsa owning specialty stores, building the electric charging stations, and saying no to traditional advertising.

This employee’s handbook also reflects the company ’s unique style, with the name of The Anti-Handbook Handbook.


This manual contains its own tone, style, with some proudness in the words. This is the beginning:

We’re Tesla. We’re changing the world. We’re willing to rethink everything.
We’re different and we like it that way.
Being different allows us to do what no one else is doing;
to do what others tell us impossible.

Sounds like Apple, right?

It’s cool to keep the uniqueness of the company’s brand and culture, this will help much both in marketing and hiring. It catches people’s eyes even without ads, and we could not ignore them.

Communicate transparently and keep simple

The manual only contains four pages of content comparing with almost hundreds of pages and filled with policies and rules in a traditional employee’s manual.

It uses plain and easy-to-understand words. Some sentences even seem a bit aggressive and harsh.

Here are some sentences:

“You’re tardy” is something kids are told in school. This isn’t school.
If you’re sick, stay at home. Don’t get rest of us sick.
Our assumption will be that if you don’t call and don’t show up for work, you’re a jerk.

Brief sentences and plain words imply simplicity and help me remember the content.


These show their pattern of communication and collaboration.

Communicate everything transparently is an important thing in a meeting, writing, and even presentation. Don’t do the trivial things which will distract others.

Keep open and fast-changing

No company is perfect, a company needs to evolve like an organism.

Tesla seems ready to change fast, and encourage employees to find problems, report them and solve them.

It motivates employees to talk with anyone in the company freely, including Elon.

Your good ideas mean nothing if you keep them to yourself.

If you see opportunities to improve the way we do things, speak up even if these are outside your area of responsibility.

Anyone at Tesla can and should email or talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company.

Set a high expectation


Traditional employee manuals often set out the low bar for employees not to be fired. This one sets a high expectation for employees.

The manual focuses on telling employees to do everything in their power to maximize performance.

Your #1 job - everyone’s #1 job, is making this company a success.
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.

Finding the fun of working is a high expectation, most people only treat their jobs as a way of making money.

Fire Fast

Tesla wants ambitious and aggressive employees, those who treat work as their own business, but not only a job.

We prefer to have incredibly high standards and to hire exceptional people who enjoy pushing themselves to perform at the highest levels every day.

Engineers with both good ability and ambitious desire are the targets of every startup. It’s hard to hire exceptional people. Elon Mask adopted the rule of Hire slow, Fire Fast.

He said in a call:

“I think you definitely don’t want to grow too fast. Make sure that every person you hire you really need to hire that person.”

Telsa gives employees trust and responsibility but does not give them many chances to do stupid things.

If you do something stupid…you may be asked to leave. We can’t afford to
waste our time with stupid stuff when we have so many important things to get done.

Final thought

Like many other successful companies, Telsa created its own unique culture and way of doing things. This manual told us clearly what Tesla wants and what it won’t welcome.

It seems that Telsa is not similar to typical startup companies in Silicon Valley.

You will feel tougher and stressful to work in Telsa, but if you are a high-driven guy, maybe you will love it.

It’s Hell and Heaven.

Here it’s the whole manual in case you want to read it.

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Tags: Writing