The former employee relayed a story where Musk once called out an employee in a meeting. He wrote: “One of my close friends started there a couple years before me. He worked (and still does) in an analysis group, so meetings made less sense when you could just walk over and ask someone a question. He told me a story one time (this is paraphrased):
“Elon to a meeting member: ‘You haven’t said anything. Why are you in here?'” Elon Musk has reportedly used a brutal tactic to keep from wasting time in meetings, Abby Jackson Oct 3, 2017, Business insider.com
One possible reply that was true for many senior meetings that I’ve attended is: “Because, this is the only place I can get the information I need to do my job. Because we are failing at letting everyone know the plan as it changes and we are failing at keeping everyone up to date on our progress relative to what they are doing.”
For alternatives see Your Project Needs Business Rules, Not Meetings
In my experience, an excess of meetings and meeting attendance was just about always associated with poor communications often preceded by poor planning. An often secondary factor was insufficient authority to make decisions and so we had to constantly go to meetings to get permission to do anything.
For more see Lessons Learned From Microsoft Meeting Madness
There were, of course, always those people who wanted to be in the meetings with the bosses or with other influential people. They were often looking for “face time” with the boss or looking for opportunities to curry favor with them. Using such brutal tactics as Musk used to help reduce this kind of opportunism seems reasonable.
Do all the people in your meetings really need to be there?