Elon Musk: Elon Musk on why he prefers to hear bad news over good news first

Good news first or bad news first is a question that is often on the minds of people. While studies show that people want — and no one likes — to hear the bad news first. So does Elon Musk. In an all-hands meeting with X employees, he said that if there’s one thing he wants to be “explicit about it and also apply at our company, one piece of bad news. Employees can have more than one piece of bad news as well, he said. “If you’re in a meeting with me, try to bring up at least one bit of bad news or more than that,” he told employees.
Musk is of the opinion that bad news should be loud, repeated, and immediate whereas good news can be said quietly once. “So just consider it mandatory to at least have some bit of bad news in any given meeting, and start with that,” he told employees.
Citing an example of his meetings at SpaceX, he said that they always lead with bad news. “We’ve had three Falcon 1 failures [and] two Falcon 9 failures, and that is seared into the minds of people in the company. People know that bad news in a meeting is nothing compared to a rocket blowing up. So, SpaceX is very good at bad,” he added.
He also emphasized that company employees need to ensure that “bad news should be brought up in every meeting, not just with me or Linda, but in general within the company.” He said that it is “really mandatory and very important” that employees follow this mantra. This rule, according to Musk, is sort of implicitly implemented at SpaceX and Tesla and now he wants to do the same at X Corp.

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