03.01.08

Team-Building Through Sadism: No Longer Just a Jackie Sherrill Thing

Posted in Hot Fads, non-sporting journalism at 11:43 am by

Self-motivation is hard enough. If I wasn’t receiving a generous package of CSTB stock options for my work it would be difficult for me to keep myself on my rigorous every-now-and-then posting schedule. And motivating other people is even more difficult.

Some of our more out-of-the-box sports figures have come up with new ways to motivate — didactic gelding, for former Mississippi State football coach Jackie Sherrill; intimidating nudity for Rick Majerus — but there is always a new way. A different way. And so it is with great excitement that I look forward to the trip Gerard has set up for the whole CSTB staff next month. We’re going to Utah. I expect trust falls and…uh oh. The following is reported by Erin Alberty in The Salt Lake Tribune, and is real:


A supervisor at a motivational coaching business in Provo is accused of waterboarding an employee in front of his sales team to demonstrate that they should work as hard on sales as the employee had worked to breathe.

In a lawsuit filed last month, former Prosper, Inc. salesman Chad Hudgens alleges his managers also allowed the supervisor to draw mustaches on employees’ faces, take away their chairs and beat on their desks with a wooden paddle “because it resulted in increased revenues for the company.”

Prosper president Dave Ellis responded that the allegations amount to “sensationalized” versions of events that have gone uncorroborated by Hudgens’ former coworkers.

“They just roll their eyes and say, ‘This is ridiculous . . . That’s not how it went down,’ ” Ellis said.

The suit claims that Hudgens’ team leader, Joshua Christopherson, asked for volunteers in May for “a new motivational exercise,” which he did not describe. Hudgens, who was 26 at the time, volunteered in order to “prove his loyalty and determination,” the suit claims.

Christopherson led the sales team to the top of a hill near the office and told Hudgens to lie down with his head downhill, the suit claims. Christopherson then told the rest of the team to hold Hudgens by the arms and legs.

Christopherson poured water from a gallon jug over Hudgens’ mouth and nostrils – like the interrogation strategy known as “waterboarding” – and told the team members to hold Hudgens down as he struggled, the suit alleges.

“At the conclusion of his abusive demonstration, Christopherson told the team that he wanted them to work as hard on making sales as Chad had worked to breathe while he was being waterboarded,” the suit alleges.

…”It was meant to be a team-building exercise,” Ellis said. “Everybody was . . . involved and enthusiastic.”

I first heard about this at Joshua Micah Marshall’s Talking Points Memo. Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s office has not responded to a request for comment.

3 Responses to “Team-Building Through Sadism: No Longer Just a Jackie Sherrill Thing”

  1. andrew says:

    If a weekend of waterboarding gets GC to put his clothes on for a few days then maybe you shouldn’t be complaining.

  2. David Roth says:

    It’s about keeping us safe, I understand, and your point is well taken. That picture GC added to the piece really helps a lot. I like the look on face of the torturer (or, if you’re down with GOP, “interrogation tactician” or whatever).

Leave a Reply