Boring meetings? Just leave, says Elon Musk

The idea of just getting up and leaving a boring work meeting is a dream to many of us and it seems, it is one shared by one of the world's leading tech tycoons.

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, has recommended it, along with hanging up on tedious phone calls, avoiding jargon and bypassing chains of command in favour of going straight to the person "doing the actual work".

The advice is revealed in a leaked email listing six productivity guidelines for staff working on the Tesla Model 3 car, obtained by the Electrek website.

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In it, the 46-year-old billionaire warned that "excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time" and urged staff to "walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value.

Tesla boss Elon Musk with the Model X
Image:Tesla boss Elon Musk with the Model X

"It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time," he added.

"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. Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter," he said.

 The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on the launch pad at te Kennedy Space Centre
Image: The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Centre

The South African also called for managers who hinder creativity by insisting on their rights under the chain of command to be sacked and advocated bypassing middle management altogether by going straight to the person "doing the actual work".

He had similar straight-talking advice about workplace jargon, telling staff to avoid acronyms or "nonsense words", saying: "In general, anything that requires explanation inhibits communication."

Elon Musk's Tesla, with dummy driver, floating in space
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He concluded by telling staff to avoid obvious pitfalls.

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"In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a 'company rule' is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change," he added.

However, it seems Mr Musk's own staff may not always follow his advice as scientists at SpaceX working on the Mars spacecraft prototype have given it the codename BFR, or "big f****** rocket".

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