Somehow, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is always running behind schedule. But is it a failure of management or a business strategy? Call it the Musk Doctrine.
It goes something like this: People do paradigm-shifting work only when they’re under tremendous pressure, so the key is to ensure deadlines are always impossible. This could help explain why Musk has never launched a product on time, yet no one seems able to keep up with him. It drives Wall Street nuts.
Musk tipped his hand on this winning-through-failure strategy this month when he set the launch date for Tesla’s widely anticipated Model 3 electric car astonishingly early: July 1, 2017.
But not really, Musk explained.
“Now, will we actually be able to achieve volume production on July 1 next year? Of course not,” he said on Tesla’s earnings call. “In order for us to be confident of achieving volume production of Model 3 by late 2017, we actually have to set a date of mid-2017 and really hold people’s feet to the fire, internally and externally.”