My friend Michael Lamoureux over at the Sourcing Innovation Blog sent me a link yesterday that I just had to comment on.

Don’t miss updates on Procurement & Supply Chain, Subscribe here!

In the above linked article from CPO Agenda, the author describes running a “procurement boot camp.” In this boot camp, 40 senior management employees from two companies for eight days were sequestered in an undisclosed location, given late-night assignments, and had communication devices taken from them.

The approach revolved around putting pressure on the group as they performed various activities, as the article says “You need a tough leader who will provide suitable pressure and drive the cadets through the process…A loud voice doesn’t hurt either!” In fact, the participating organizations had a psychologist on call in case any of the participants suffered from “excess stress” but the article goes on to say that “a doctor would have been more useful as the ‘desk jockeys’ suffered bodily injuries during the teambuilding events.”

Hmmm…somehow this doesn’t sound like a good idea to me considering the alternatives that are out there for skill development. Here are some thoughts:

  1. If you need a drill sergeant to motivate senior management, you need new senior managers and a better way to recruit them!
  2. The author was from South Africa. Maybe South Africa has a less litigious society than we do here in the USA because if an employee suffers bodily injury here during a training event, a lawsuit and/or a huge financial settlement won’t be far behind!
  3. Who can afford to have all of their critical people out of the office for eight days with no means of communicating with them? Hello? Anyone hear of online training? When everyone can participate at the time of their choosing, there is a lot less disruption to operations. Your internal customers care about having someone there to support them, ya know?
  4. Transforming a procurement department successfully requires influencing people to believe in your vision and to voluntarily get on board. I don’t see having them endure a boot camp-style experience as exactly the way to endear a team. You see, some of the long-timers don’t like change. Training to them is perceived as “hard.” There are ways to make it seem easy to them so they get on board. Sending them to “boot camp” is not one of them. Such a small percentage of the population wants to join the military. So you would think that everyone would get the clue that the words “boot camp” do not inspire high fiving in the hallways.
  5. The boot camp thing is so trite. Google “sales boot camp,” “marketing boot camp,” “IT boot camp,” etc. and you’ll see what I mean.
  6. The article listed no tangible, measurable workplace results from the boot camp. Only that they generated “ideas” and “opportunities for collective go-to-market strategies.” So where is the ROI? Seems like a lot of sacrifice for no real results.

So do you want results? Do you want transformation? Do you want your team to get on board without resorting to drill sergeant tactics?

Maybe you should check out some of our SPSM Certification Success Story videos to see how others have gotten those things out of their training initiatives.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President and Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

More Posts