Entrepreneurs

Elon Musk’s 6 productivity rules, including walk out of meetings that waste your time

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla
Photo by Scott Olson
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla

Elon Musk is running electric vehicle company Tesla, aerospace company SpaceX and tunneling venture The Boring Company.

He's even been sleeping at the Tesla factory to ensure ramped up production of his Model 3 electric car.

The CEO has a lot going on.

As it turns out, Musk has some ruthless productivity tricks, and he shared them in a letter to Tesla employees on Tuesday.

Here are Musk's six tips:

1. Nix big meetings

"Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get [out] of all large meetings, unless you're certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short."

2. Ditch frequent meetings too

"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."

3. Leave a meeting if you're not contributing

"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."

4. Drop jargon

"Don't use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication. We don't want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla."

5. Communicate directly, irrespective of hierarchy

"Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the 'chain of command'. Any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere.

"A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is allow free flow of information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work, then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen."

6. Follow logic, not rules

"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."

The email, obtained by electric vehicle website Electrek and car news and opinion site Jalopnik, also explained to employees that Tesla would be halting production for several days to upgrade equipment with the goal of producing 6,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June. Its authenticity was confirmed by CNBC.

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