Lessons from Other Industries: Boot camp transformations

Boot-Camp-Tyler-Bolken

Photo Credit: Tyler Bolken, Flickr.

By Nicholas Upton
July 8, 2014
Filed under Features, Top Stories

Transformation is fundamental to stay grounded on the shifting sands of business.

To that end, the idea of a boot camp has expanded to nearly every industry. Doctors attend boot camps before working with patients, web developers use them to learn new skills, new fathers learn to be a better parent and freshly promoted CEOs learn to manage better at boot camps.

The New York Times explored the idea of boot camps at length and found at the center of all boot camps lies the notion of transformation.

Few of these activities have much in common, but they all use the term boot camp to sell a concept: transformation. The common idea behind the military model is that if you push your physical limits, persevere and bond with your comrades, your body and soul will be forever changed.

Big expensive boot camps, however, get mixed reviews; the popular trend of fitness boot camps has come to a grinding halt in recent years. Mixed results also keep many people and businesses away from such programs. Most small businesses just can’t justify thousands of dollars for a week in a sweat lodge with an experimental yogi.

Creating a boot camp in-house is ideal if you have a natural teacher on board. Hiring outside training will be an investment, but a third-party consultant can lend authority and urgency to the training that a staffer might not foster.

Focused training can refresh the sales floor, the service garage or the marina – anywhere the business might be lagging. Just don’t wait too long or the training might seem punitive.

It’s not feasible in the busy summer months, but closing shop to train like Lynnhaven Marine is a fun place to start brainstorming a boot camp, and a nice reminder that a business can do some drills without a drill sergeant.

Good training and transformation don’t necessarily mean a huge expense or bizarre lesson plans. Businesses owners that spot a decline in productivity or some workplace drama would be wise to look into some kind of group education to get everyone on the same page.

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