Why Tough Mudder’s CEO Takes His Employees to School

Tough Mudder University is not an add-on service that gets you ready for the brand’s adventure race.  It is the on-going training the company provides its 100 plus employees.  Each employee goes through an eight-week introductory period where they are trained on the procedures and thinking of the firm to get everyone on the same page.  Tough Mudder goes onto provide regular Harvard Business School style cases studies, finance and legal trainings, lunch and learns, and business book clubs, on top of hosting an annual business plan competition.  Why are they investing so much in their employees in a time that talent walks out the door every two to three years?

The CEO and co-founder, Will Dean, believes that only the toughest of problems and decisions should land on his desk.  In order for this to occur and Dean to maximize his time and attention on scaling his global business rapidly, he has to have a roster of highly trained and highly educated people.  Dean seeks to empower his employees with the power to make decisions.  This can only be achieved if management trusts their employees to make the right decisions.  Education and training becomes the vehicle to build that trust. Training Tough Mudder employees produces talent ready to meet the challenges of managing a rapidly growing company that hosted more than 50 events around the world in 2015.

We here at Private Equity Primer find this more than admiral.  The initial training given at the time of on-boarding incorporates new hires into the company’s tribe.  The training enhances the capabilities of the firm at the most element levels, its employees. Yes, most employees will inevitably leave, but management has decided that training is the price they pay for quality operations and market share. Employee attrition is a fact of life with or without training but Tough Mudder knows that training makes their employees desirable and feeds the brand they are working to grow.

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