'Business Bootcamp' Gets Down And Dirty On CNBC

Remember the Spartans?

Hard-ass business coach Joe De Sena sure does. This corporate trainer who never cracks a smile has named his Vermont corporate training facility Spartan.

The name derives from the ancient Greek city-state whose warriors were known for their ferocity and physical strength in battle.

There in the Green Mountain State on a 700-acre piece of land De Sena calls The Farm, attendees at his self-styled bootcamp for business undergo rigorous, Marine-like, obstacle-course training.

De Sena’s system is aimed at breaking down and rebuilding his visitors to overcome their own obstacles to success.

This week, this business warrior’s training methods go national with a new show on CNBC titled “No Retreat: Business Bootcamp.”



The “No Retreat” in the title has a double meaning. It is meant to represent his “No Retreat” philosophy when one is locked in a business battle, which to him is blood sport.

It is also meant to convey that his business bootcamp is no retreat. Prospective attendees should not expect to experience cucumber slices on their eyes or therapeutic mud baths.

The only “mud bath” they are likely to have is the one pictured above from the show -- a long crawl headfirst through a mud pit.

These are the types of activities drill sergeant De Sena applies to the building of team work in businesses where there was none before.

This corporate trainer with a scowling face believes that this approach works, based on the experience he has had with it.

In the show, he boasts that his clients have included some of America’s biggest companies.

However, the company featured in the series premiere is a very small one -- a Pennsylvania cleaning company that contracts with office buildings for cleaning services.

Showcasing the employees of a cleaning company on a show in which they will be required to crawl through mud is ironic.

“You wanna be in the cleaning business? You gotta get dirty!” shouts Joltin’ Joe to the handful of staff members who stand before him dreading what he will order them to do next.

In interviews with the cleaning service’s top managers interspersed throughout the show, the point is hammered home that this company’s systems and lines of communication are dysfunctional.

How these defects are supposed to be corrected through obstacle-course training is not fully explained in the premiere episode of “No Retreat” that the TV Blog previewed last week.

We are expected to simply accept that crawling through mud will accomplish all that this Spartan trainer says it will. Well, if he says so …

Let the record show that in the final scenes of “No Retreat,” the newly refreshed staff members of this small cleaning company are seen back at the office.

They all report that things are running smoother than they used to, thanks to their retreat at Joe De Sena’s Farm. 

A toast to them. Or to put it another way, here’s mud in your eye!

“No Retreat: Business Bootcamp” premieres on Tuesday (March 8) at 10 p.m. Eastern on CNBC.

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