What Do Elon Musk and Bill Gates Have in Common?

GPT and Q7 offer an unexpected answer to this question.

Elon Musk's basic values profiles
Elon Musk’s basic values profile.

I asked ChatGPT to help me build Elon Musk’s values profile, using my Q7 questionnaire, and then compared it to the profile calculated earlier using crowdsourced responses. I was pleasantly surprised that the two profiles matched up to 95%! Getting almost identical results with a different approach could prove the validity of the construct this blitz assessment is intended to measure – values alignment. (On the graph, the two profiles overlap, and even the two “summary” stars are very close.)

In case you have not met the tool yet, the Q7 Collectiver Culture Compass is based on Shalom Schwartz’s Theory of Basic Human Values. This tool uses a one-minute(!) questionnaire to calculate individual basic human values profiles and can also assess the congruence of the team’s values, a factor that research has shown can influence team performance.

Encouraged by the result, I persuaded ChatGPT to provide me with more profiles of prominent individuals. Yes, I had to be convincing because GPT would start every response with a disclaimer like “I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I don’t have personal interactions with […] or access to his private thoughts and beliefs, and yada yada…” – but eventually it surrendered to my seductive prompts. In collaboration with my new artificially intelligent friend, we assembled an impromptu “star team” of several well-known people, including Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

All-Star Team

As part of the experiment, GPT created values profiles of two well-known management gurus who didn’t quite see eye to eye in their field. The Q7 assessment result was (un)surprising: the two individuals had profiles that were barely compatible, so I’d rather not share their names or any further details (solid light and dark green lines, stars #9 and #10).

Bill Gates impressed me the most. He appeared to have the most compatible profile. Like it or not, Bill’s profile closely matches the order of cross-cultural priority averaged across multiple societies (calculated by Shalom Schwartz in his research (an opaque area under Bill Gates’s profile – dashed green line, star #2). Isn’t that impressive? It’s no wonder Gates is compatible with everybody else!

Elon Musk's and Bill Gates's basic human values do not align.
Elon Musk’s and Bill Gates’s basic human values do not align.

Well, almost. According to the tool, Gates and Musk have negative compatibility of minus twenty-two percent. This suggests that their values are not aligned at all and they may not work well together as a team.

Within the “star team,” Elon happens to be the least compatible person. While this is not entirely surprising given their different backgrounds and priorities, it could be the root cause of Elon’s current problems. You may say, this is exactly his secret of success. I doubt that.

In contrast, Bill Gates’s average compatibility with the rest of the “star team” including Musk is  44%. If we remove Elon Musk (lay him off?), it becomes a whopping sixty-five percent!

So what do Elon Musk and Bill Gates have in common? Other than the obvious—they’re both very wealthy—they probably don’t have much in common. This is a typical situation when people have no shared values: even if you lock them in the same room, they will hardly become a cohesive team. So, the contrarian slogan “Don’t hire for culture fit” popular with some managers and academics is likely a bad recommendation.

In the case of Musk, paying more attention to values alignment could lead to stronger, more effective teams and a more positive corporate culture.

In your case, if you’re a leader like Musk, it’s worth taking a closer look at your team’s values alignment. The Q7 tool can help you identify areas where values may be misaligned and make adjustments to improve team performance. With the right values alignment, your team can achieve great things and make a positive impact on the world.

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