Elon Hasson shares his insights from his experience leading a remote team. He highlights the significance of having a mission-driven business, emphasizing how it forms the foundation for effective internal communications.
Elon emphasizes fostering a culture where the team understands why they're doing what they're doing and how it contributes to a bigger goal, like tackling climate change through renewable energy. He speaks about the necessity of helping each other work towards these common goals and creating an environment where team members can learn and grow.
Leading a remote team poses unique challenges, particularly in the absence of physical office interactions. To counter this, Elon introduces the concept of unstructured meetings - a unique method where there is no set agenda, and the meetings are designed to mimic those spontaneous yet impactful office interactions. He speaks about how this approach helps in creating an environment conducive to learning and growth.
One key element that stands out in Elon's leadership style is the importance he places on regular check-ins with his team members. He points out that he avoids long gaps without communication and believes in building relationships with his team members, which aids in quick identification and resolution of any issues or mistakes.
Elon speaks about his prior experience of scaling up a business and maintaining its culture amidst rapid growth. Elon reflects on his journey of expanding his team from four people to a whopping 1500 in just four months during a presidential campaign. He discusses the challenges and learnings from this experience, highlighting the importance of hiring top-notch managers to handle the growing workforce.
However, Elon cautions that scaling up a business too rapidly can have negative implications on the company's culture. He underscores that it's not about merely increasing the number of employees but maintaining the core values and mission of the business as it grows. He shares his experience of fighting against the forced tripling of his team's size as he believed it would destroy the existing company culture.
Hassan suggests that while scaling, companies should focus on not making everything transactional. For him, the regular check-ins and keeping a small, manageable team helped preserve the business’ culture and ensure efficient communication. This method helped prevent errors and misunderstandings that could arise from long periods of no communication.
Further, Elon stresses that maintaining a company's culture during rapid growth requires intentionality and deliberate efforts. He shares his practice of having unstructured meetings where he could teach his team about the development process. These meetings helped recreate the interactions and learning experiences typically found in an office setting.
Elon explores the importance of passion and mission alignment within his team. Elon highlights that the underlying motivation to work within his renewable energy development company goes beyond monetary gain. Instead, it is centered on a passion for combating climate change and a belief in the work they are doing.
He suggests that this shared vision acts as a catalyst for the employees' drive to solve problems, learn new things, and adapt to the complexities of their roles. According to Elon, employees who are passionate about the mission will go the extra mile to understand intricate aspects of their work, such as system impact studies. They don't just perform tasks; they dig deeper to comprehend the importance of their contribution in the broader scheme of things.
Elon emphasizes that his role in fostering relationships in business is anchored on “empathic listening,” in which he seeks to fully understand and connect with people's perspectives, especially those who come from different backgrounds or hold different beliefs. This approach, he believes, is key in establishing trust and long-lasting relationships.
When discussing how his team interacts with different cultures in the projects they develop, Elon stresses the importance of respect and understanding. He asserts that every interaction is treated as unique and requires genuine engagement. Whether it's a farmer who's held the land for generations or an investor who sees the land purely as an asset, Elon underscores the need to comprehend their perspectives fully.
He also elaborates on his experience in Mississippi, where he had to adapt to the unique challenges of building a wind farm on rice fields. By actively listening and engaging with the local farmer, Elon and his team could devise a solution that respected the farmer's needs and preserved the integrity of their work.
Elon continues this line of thinking by exploring the complex issues surrounding political differences and land ownership.
The discussion starts with the topic of Trump, which is a politically charged topic that often stirs intense reactions. Rather than steering away from this controversial issue, Elon emphasizes the importance of open dialogues around political differences. He advocates for discussions that are driven by the aim to understand, rather than persuade, thereby promoting respect and empathy towards differing viewpoints.
The conversation then shifts to the practicality of farmers in relation to their land. Elon explains that for many landowners, their connection to their land is deeply personal and sentimental. The land is often a result of generations of hard work, and therefore, the decision to lease it for renewable energy projects is not taken lightly.
Elon speaks about the need for developers to truly understand the landowner's connection to their land, advocating for the importance of spending time on the land and engaging in open and honest discussions with landowners. He believes that when a landowner truly understands the project and its impact, they can become champions of the cause.
Elon then discusses his experiences working within the renewable energy sector. He has been working as a renewable energy developer for several years and has gained significant insights into the workings of the industry.
He notes the distinction between developers and financiers in the renewable energy industry. He explains how each group approaches projects differently, reflecting their varying priorities and objectives. This difference in approach is something that Hassan believes needs to be understood and navigated carefully for successful collaboration in the industry.
Hassan also stresses the importance of hiring the right people in the industry. He argues that it is crucial for companies to recruit individuals who are not only competent but also share the same values and goals. This aligns with his belief in the importance of nurturing a mission-driven culture within an organization. He suggests that hiring people who are passionate about the cause can contribute significantly to the success of a renewable energy business.
Moreover, Elon touches upon the importance of fostering learning and development within the industry. He believes that it is essential for professionals in the renewable energy sector to continuously learn and adapt to the evolving landscape of the industry. This, according to Elon, is key to driving innovation and progress in the renewable energy field.
Elon emphasizes the transformative potential of collaboration and how it can drive a significant shift in traditional business operations. Elon argues that a diverse range of views and experiences can lead to a richer, more nuanced understanding of complex issues, which in turn can lead to more effective problem-solving and decision-making processes.
Additionally, Elon discusses his experience on the campaign trail, observing how individuals’ sense of self-worth and independence were uplifted when they were given the opportunity to contribute to something larger than themselves. He underscores the potential of collaborative environments to empower individuals, enabling them to reach beyond their perceived limitations and achieve what may seem impossible.
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