Elon Musk’s 3 tips on running efficient meetings
Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s leadership is known for being quite unique, and the billionaire’s stances on meetings are no less innovative than many of his other practices. Those who participate in meetings for work may be taken aback by what Musk says makes for an efficient meeting, and his suggestions to Tesla employees on the subject may even be a polarizing topic.
Above: Photo: Tesla Owners Club Belgium / Wikimedia Commons
In 2018, Musk sent an email to Tesla employees detailing three of his most essential tips on how to run efficient meetings, as reported by Inc.com. The email included a handful of useful notes for employees, much of which could be summarized by saying that meetings are overrated. Still, Musk’s clear directives and rules on meetings are meant to increase efficiency — a practice Tesla has proven itself at time and time again.
In his first instruction, Musk notes that larger meetings need to offer something for everyone, in addition to not lasting long.
"Please get [rid] of all large meetings, unless you're certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short," wrote Musk in the email.
It stands to reason that larger meetings immediately take everyone involved away from their regular daily work. For that reason, Musk recommends avoiding them altogether when possible. In addition to a meeting’s size, however, Musk explains that the frequency of meetings can also get in the way of efficiency.
"Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved," writes Musk.
Similarly, regular meetings can take employees away from their regular tasks and should be avoided except in matters of extreme urgency, according to the Tesla CEO. However, Musk goes on to put his disdain for meeting culture on full display with a message that’s even more surprising to some professionals.
"Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time," said Musk.
To walk out of a meeting or drop off a call may seem rude, but Musk says it’s actually rude of the meeting holder to waste the time of the meeting attendants. And coming from Musk, whose average day is filled to the brim with work duties, the statement seems to ring even more true than on its own.
Meetings are tricky, and if you aren’t careful, they can become a huge waste of time and money. Part of Tesla’s efficiency relies on Musk’s view and practices surrounding meetings — and it’s hard to fathom how much time and money may have been saved simply by cutting back on meeting time.