The boot camp concept today seems to be gaining popularity. Many companies are patterning their sales training meetings along a boot camp mode similar to what the military conducts with its recruits whether it be the Air Force, Army, Navy or Marines.
But first we should understand what a boot camp concept is all about. Its a process of taking civilians and turning them into disciplined military personnel by teaching them how to conduct themselves, to follow orders, to dress, to fire a weapon, to respect others they work with and to use time efficiently.
Its all those things that, as we progress either as people in the military or employees in the private sector, we often forget or dont think about. Things like the salesperson who forgets to say Thank you after a client gives an order. Or the manager who forgets to mentor a new employee simply because its inconvenient. Or the athlete who isnt prepared for a competition because of poor conditioning. Or the person who forgets to check the gas gauge before driving off, only to run out of gas on a lonely road.
Its all basic stuff but its essential, and without doing the basic things at work and elsewhere, life becomes more complicated and oftentimes chaotic. It seems weve all gotten so involved with e-mails and computers and new systems and new concepts that we have somehow forgotten to pay attention to basic matters that make our lives more simple and livable.
Weve all heard coaches talk about getting back to the basics when their teams arent winning games. Weve even heard executives of large corporations say the same things when their companys earnings arent what they should be and the board is restless. In essence it means people arent doing their jobs properly, their focus has been diverted by other matters and they havent given their full attention to a given task or assignment.
Over and over it happens. We forget, thinking we dont have to do some of those basic things because we take things for granted. Longtime clients are lost all the time when companies forget to pay attention to them; those firms get complacent about the old customers and pay more attention to the new. When those perennial clients leave, we scratch our heads and wonder why. But we forgot to do the basic things that are necessary to ensure a customer knows we respect them and dont take them for granted.
Dont ever forget the basics of your profession, whatever it is. Dont ever take things for granted and assume the customer will always be there. Nobody likes to be trivialized and forgotten or ignored even. When it comes to being a competent executive or a physician, you have to do basic things every day to do your job well. There are no shortcuts.
You have to be rested, alert and prepared to make important decisions, and you have to pay close attention to the basic details of whatever it is you do, just like airline pilots before a flight. They go through a basic checklist of things before they even attempt to fly the plane.
The basics are essential to everything. Dont skip a step on the way to success or you may end up failing. Its like the speaker who comes to speak and hasnt thought about what he is going to say. Those talks often come off disjointed and flat. Boot camps can be a way to refresh our memories of how we were trained to pay attention to the basics of how to do our jobs well. Somehow, those who take the basics seriously always seem to come out on top.