Barrier to Entry

People often ask me how to build a high performance team. They often want to instill things like commitment and “buy-in” in their group, but struggle to manifest these qualities. My answer often rubs people the wrong way.

If you ask me, commitment is forged in a rite of passage. Teams with the highest levels of buy-in and the strongest commitments often have the most stringent barriers to entry. So, how to you build great teams with excellent buy in?

Make it harder to get on the team. 

You don’t have to look far for support for this notion, either. When I think of teams with the highest level of commitment, I think of the military special operations forces and high level athletics (specifically college athletics). Both have notorious barriers to entry such that talent and desire are not enough to earn a place on the team. All interested parties are talented, have great desire, and have to endure the trials and tribulations of intentionally challenging rites of passage. Those who come out on the other end are not just qualified to contribute to the team mission but have invested into the team through the rite of passage (in time, pain, money, blood, effort, or otherwise).

Part of the reason these organizations can have a ruthless enrollment process is their mission is so clear and desirable that there is a strong desire to enroll. Therefore, nearly everyone is replaceable. If you’re an all-American who doesn’t know how to be a teammate, there’s someone else who can do the job. Don’t have extreme attention to detail on the battlefield? Surely, the Army Rangers can find another motivated guy who is willing to have attention to detail.

In these environments, only the most committed survive and this builds a self-fulfilling prophecy of high level buy-in across the board. Thinking from this perspective, you can imagine the mere coincidence of someone having strong buy-in to a team that accepts anyone and everyone who’s interested in joining.

DEUCE Gym, as a result, is always developing but never hiring. We don’t train the people we hire, we hire the people willing to go through our training. As a result, the few that make it through our rite of passage are fit enough for the commitment needed to hold the standard.


Logan Gelbrich


1/18/18 WOD


8 Strict Pullups


Then, complete 5 rounds for time of:

5 Sandbag Front Squats (BW)

10 Burpees Over-the-Box