Are Breakfast Meetings a Sign of Hopeless Incompetence?
For most of my career, I was blessed with bosses who almost never insisted on holding breakfast meetings. I hated them and rarely found them very productive because half the group was still trying to rub the sleep out of their eyes. Today, Paul Krugman provides his own theory of breakfast meetings, based on his stint at the CEA in 1982:
I can understand why busy, productive people might sometimes want to meet at 7 AM. But what soon became completely clear was that the people who insisted on those early meetings were precisely the least competent and productive guys — the economics team at the NSC, which was totally hopeless in the Reagan years, the team at Agriculture (ditto), and so on. (No offense to current personnel, who I hope are in a completely different class; there were a lot of really strange people allegedly doing economics in the early Reagan period.) It was hard not to conclude that they were making a show of being incredibly busy and hard-working; they probably went back to their offices after breakfast and read Ayn Rand novels or something.
Meanwhile, people at USTR and the Fed, who really did know what they were doing, showed no similar fetish.
Perhaps it's not a coincidence that for most of my career I was also blessed with bosses who were pretty competent folks.