On episode 88 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett, Jessica Lee, and Kris Dunn come together to discuss Elon Musk as a maverick leader (his move of HQ location without discussing with the leadership team, firing of longtime assistant, etc) and whether they could work for him as his SVP of HR. Drinking at Michigan State tailgates is also discussed.
3:00 – The Michigan attorney general (Michigan fan) recently released an apology for getting too drunk at an MSU football game. She said there was more alcohol than food at the tailgate. KD said the MSU tailgates are quite aggressive.
6:30 – When MSU and U of M play each other, anywhere from 150k to 250k people are on the respective campus. Tim says it’s the “biggest cocktail of the North.”
9:30 – Today’s episode is dedicated to the one and only Elon Musk. A few months ago, Elon announced that the Tesla headquarters are moving from California to Texas. He didn’t tell his leadership team before he made the announcement, according to California officials trying to spin the move in a negative way.
12:30 – Tim can’t believe in a modern world that a CEO would do this since even small moves can cause major change for many employees. KD notes that it really didn’t impact as many people as some might think, since Elon wanted to move to Texas and the top talent at Tesla is either tied to a plant or as specialists who can work where they want as long as they are willing to travel.
14:00 – JLee mentions that Elon is the new “boogeyman.” KD mentions that his leadership team must have had enough experience with him to know that something like this could happen or would be happening soon.
18:30 – KD asks JLee for any guidance from HR leaders who work with CEOs like Elon. She notes that the best strategy may be to not try and control the leader.
20:30 – Tim mentions that Tesla is still considered a startup, even though most startups don’t grow as quickly or to the scale of Tesla.
24:30 – JLee calls Elon a little petty in response to his former assistant’s story. The gang makes a note to discuss the dynamics of asking for more money in the future — there’s always a chance the answer is no!
33:00 – Elon recently took to Twitter to ask his followers if he should sell 10% of his stock. Tim notes that he had to do this since he has tax bills coming due.
37:30 – KD talks about some potential tax rebates for purchasing EVs and how the current administration is proposing greater rebates for auto companies with unions. KD notes the administration is penalizing one of the great innovators of the last 100 years, and also notes that the lower rebates may put Tesla out of reach for some lower and middle-class buyers, which he considers ironic due to the fact that elites will still buy a Tesla regardless of the price.
42:30 – KD asks Tim and JLee if they would be Elon’s HR leader. Tim says yes because of his extreme innovation. JLee won’t answer, but KD says he would too.