The transition from Captain of Industry to Private Pyle is easier than you think.
The most domineering boss has a way of melting in the presence of the drill instructor's flush cheeks. And the royal waistline loses some of its cache when draped in mesh gym shorts
"Yeah, we break down their egos real quick," said Senior Drill Instructor Matt Terlop.
Terlop is a former U.S. Border Patrol agent, and the lead drill instructor at CEO Boot Camp.
Located in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, "boot camp" is more like a corporate retreat with a rusty edge, a place for the boss and his underlings to crawl in the mud together.
"CEOs have to pull together [with their employees]," Terlop said, "because when they're in the boot camp platoon, they have no rank, they're just average individuals in the structure."
When the "troops" hit the field, Terlop is the boss, and like any good drill instructor, he's not shy about the fact.
"People look to me for the motivation they see how the military's U.S. Border Patrol has trained me into being a disciplined individual," Terlop said. "I transfer that to those executives, to help them be sharper, more fit. That transcends into the work place."
Discipline and self-reliance are the cornerstones of the 6-8 week courses, which come with the promise of a bolstered espirit de corps, a drop in work-wide cholesterol levels, and most importantly, t-shirts.
The perks are lavish but they come with a price. And not just in sweat and tears -- the courses cost an average of $150 per person in addition to location fees (Boot Camp will relocate to a high school football field near you if necessary). Those dollars can add up in a corporate office that counts a couple hundred employees.
The drill instructor is not impressed. To him, this kind of training is priceless.
"We want this to be an excuse-fee environment," Terlop warns. "The price and location we can discuss and make sure it works But when I come out there in the campaign cover, the Smoky hat, I'm a different guy. It's pretty crazy. The trainees feel like they're getting pulled off the bus!"
Boot camp trainees are never off-duty. Terlop and his deputies routinely show up at the office during the work day for what he calls "a sweep." They're searching for contraband in the form of sweets, nicotine, and other unhealthy treats.
The message is clear: Leave the jelly donut at home or pay the price.
Terlop will be first in line when casting calls for "Full Wool Blend Jacket" begin sometime in the near future, but please don't be mislead, there are no live rounds at CEO Boot Camp.
The schedule is much more docile. And no matter how out of shape you are, there's no chance of pulling latrine duty. Instead, the focus is on team building and exercise.
The standard boot camp "day" runs about two hours, once per week. Day One opens with a fitness test. Body fat measurements, body weight measurements, a mile run, and push-ups all included.
Your improvement from the first session to the last is documented and presented to the company, which is encouraged to post the results in the office.
The intra-office competition is what keeps CEO Boot Camp from descending into high school gym class with benefits.