Tesla CEO Elon Musk has swerved off the road yet again and is facing a new round of ire from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Using his favorite weapon of mass destruction, Twitter, Musk released some Tesla production numbers--an action directly in violation of a settlement he previously struck with the SEC. In that agreement, Musk committed to consulting Tesla before taking to social media with anything that could impact Tesla's stock price.
Here's his latest misstep in the Twitter-sphere:
4000 Tesla cars loading in SF for Europe pic.twitter.com/BODbSzo3Fr-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 20, 2019
Tesla's general counsel resigned the day after this tweet came out, only two months after he was hired. Much worse, though: On Monday, the SEC filed in a Manhattan federal court to request that a judge hold Musk in contempt for violating their previous settlement.
The news drove down Tesla's share 3 percent. Much more serious repercussions are looming.
As Yahoo Finance reported, there are a bevy of penalties Musk could now face, the worst being he will be barred from running the automaker for some period of time. Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, put it this way: "Having your CEO in contempt of an SEC action is a pretty bad thing. They settled with him and within a few months he's back to doing similar things. It's unbelievable."
The SEC's official point of view was no less harsh, as it stated in court papers that Musk "once again published inaccurate and material information about Tesla to his over 24 million Twitter followers, including members of the press, and made this inaccurate information available to anyone with Internet access."
What Musk's tweet has to do with the rest of us
Musk's big brain dreamt Tesla. His bigger ego is destroying it.
His latest move raises questions about his ability to control his ego-led impulses long enough to run a massive company that so many are depending on to succeed. Let's all remember what happens when the ego is behind the wheel of our mental Roadster.
It's never good.
Your ego leads to needless distractions and unforced errors. It makes you unable to back down from an argument until you win. You blame others when things don't work out the way you wanted. You feel jealous at other people's success and might even put others down to feel better about yourself. You go entire conversations without asking about the other person. What others think of you becomes a driving force in your life.
Ego isn't all bad, even big ones. It's when service of the ego comes at the expense of others that it becomes problematic.
That's where Mr. Musk is at. His tweets are no longer self-amusing. They're self-serving, and now doing real damage.
You might not be in a position where your next tweet can wreak widespread havoc. But you have hundreds of daily little battles where your ego can take over and tweet its way into hurting someone (including yourself).
I'm not asking you to fear your ego--just to be mindful of its impulses. Let it do no harm, not just to a public company, but to all the John Q. Public's in your life.