Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reportedly sent an email to his employees telling them to walk out of meetings if they're not productive, as the company aims to double production.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on April 19, 2018

Electrek obtained the email from Musk, which highlights ways for staff to avoid time-wasting, in order to substantially improve efficiency and productivity at the electric-car maker.

This will be crucial if Tesla is to hit Musk’s ambitious production target of 6,000 Model 3 units per week in June.

The new bar has been set after the company failed in its bid to build 2,500 of the sedans per week by the end of the first quarter. The team fell short by 500 units.

Musk is reportedly implementing a range of strategies to rapidly increase output, headlined by the hire of hundreds more staff at Tesla’s Fremont car plant so it can operate 24 hours a day.

“As part of the drive towards 6k, all Model 3 production at Fremont will move to 24/7 operations,” Musk wrote in the email. “This means that we will be adding another shift to general assembly, body and paint.”

He also has some surprising tips for his staff. Clearly, Musk is not a fan of meetings, because among his list of recommendations, the CEO encourages his employees to walk out of them and hang-up on phone conversations.

“Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value,” he tells his staff. “It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”

He also believes it’s important to ignore the chain of command, and breach the company rules when necessary.

The list of recommendations from Musk email

  • Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get 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. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Musk ends the email with, “Thanks for being such a kickass team and accomplishing miracles every day.”

Tesla incentive for Musk

Just last month, the Tesla board approved an incentive-based award for the CEO, which if vested could potentially be the largest one-time compensation deal in history.

He stands to gain stock options currently valued at $2.6 billion, but it is dependent on the company’s market value, and either revenue or earnings excluding certain charges.

Bloomberg said at the time, that for Musk to receive the full package, Tesla’s market value would have to grow to $650 billion from around $60 billion.

In regulatory filings, Tesla indicated the stock options could potentially be worth $50 billion to the 46-year-old.