We all know that it’s easy to get distracted, especially in difficult times. Great leaders, however, are often distinguished by the intensity of their focus. In other words, great leaders don’t allow themselves to become distracted, no matter what’s going on around them.
That’s what makes the noise around the proposed Twitter acquisition particularly irritating. I think it’s fair to say that most of us would be prefer less noise and more clarity.
“Elon Musk’s Twitter Inc. takeover comments haven’t just riled the social-media company’s executives and staff. They have also frustrated some of the billionaire’s loyal Tesla Inc. backers,” writes Rebecca Elliott of The Wall Street Journal. “The electric-vehicle maker has lost roughly 30% of its value since April 1, as the will-he-or-won’t-he drama around Mr. Musk’s investment in Twitter—and eventual $44 billion deal to take over the social-media company—has played out. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell around 15% in that time.”
As Rebecca notes in her excellent article, the effects of Musk’s statements reach far beyond the social media universe. Let’s be candid: People look to Elon Musk for guidance, innovation, invention and inspiration. When he stumbles, the impact can be felt across multiple sectors of the economy, including energy, construction and space exploration. Is he spreading himself too thin, as Rebecca suggests, or does he just need to dial down the volume?
As a seasoned business entrepreneur and executive, I know full well that one of the primary skills of leadership is the ability to focus with laser-sharp precision on the task at hand. The ability shut out distractions and concentrate exclusively on the problem you’re trying to solve is an essential quality of world-class leadership. In today’s hyper-fast and ultra-turbulent markets, focus makes the difference between winning and losing.
If I was coaching Elon Musk, I would suggest taking a step back, deciding what’s really important and then focusing intently on that. From my perspective, that’s what a truly great leader would do.
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