Probably the main lesson is that there are few better ways to brand a business than by having a strong sense of mission.
Elon’s mission is to save humanity, first by saving the environment with electric cars (Tesla Motors), and secondly, by getting people into outer space, so our species has other options should the Earth ever go ka-blooey (SpaceX).
Those are pretty ambitious and motivating missions, to say the least. It is much easier to see people getting excited about that kind of mission than say, “Getting our toothpaste brand to achieve 12.5% market share by 2021, or Colgate’s mission “to become the best truly global consumer products company. We are committed to conducting ourselves in a socially responsible manner and to keeping our business operations environmentally sound. ”.
The leaders’ job is to find the slice of glory in what we do, no matter how mundane, and find the people who are excited by that.
We can’t all go to Mars, and everybody still needs to brush their teeth, the question is: what is exciting and motivating about that work? There is always an answer to the question.