—It’s not easy to get, and hold, the attention of a busy executive. But the Jenks Groups, Inc. (TJGI), a boutique strategic services consulting firm in Solana Beach, CA, has developed a program that’s hard to ignore: they employ US Navy SEALs—and weapons—to educate and sharpen the tactical skills of senior executives. In a one-of-a-kind experience called “Strategic Operations Skills Training” (S.O.S.T.™), seasoned executives participate in physically and mentally challenging exercises that provide them with a fresh outlook and renewed traction toward achieving their corporate goals.
Four years in the making, The Jenks Group’s program uses a realistic battlefield on a San Diego TV/movie studio lot to instill six “game-changing” skills into an executive’s arsenal. State-of-the-art Hollywood special effects heighten the experience for S.O.S.T. participants.
In developing their program, TJGI founding principal Sharon Jenks studied the characteristics that made some executives successful while others struggled. “Far and above any other specific trait, the ability to execute on assigned initiatives is what separated those who are extremely successful from those who struggle,” she says. “What we determined is that there are hard skills that can be taught—and more importantly, managed—that turn mediocre into movement.”
One of the challenges, she realized, was in educating and motivating senior executives to manage the change that’s required to move a company forward. “Once someone is engaged for a few years, they tend to settle into a routine that delivers a predictable outcome, and that’s good,” she says. “The downside is that in settling into that routine, they also deliver a routine outcome. Our S.O.S.T. program helps break up the logjam and offers the executive participant an opportunity to learn new skills that provide different perspectives.”
Over the course of one or two days, executive groups participate in intensive physical and mental exercises to acquire six skills modeled on successful US Navy SEALs strategies. “If you want to meet a team of the most highly trained task-to-mission experts in the world,” says Jenks, “those would be our US Navy SEALs instructors. They are top drawer game-changers.” The skills learned in field exercises are subsequently debriefed in the classroom. “There’s absolutely no other program out there like this,” emphasizes Ed Jenks, principal and senior strategist for TJGI. “It’s hands-on experiential and backs up the exercises with game-changing lessons that tie directly back to the C-suite.”
One executive who took advantage of an opportunity to preview the program said it redefined for him the importance of good communication during high-stress activities. “It was pretty amazing,” said Jim Canfield, CEO of Renaissance Executive Forums. “I think what it does is allow you to feel what it really feels like when you’re in the middle of split-second decision making.” The experience also underscored the value of team unification in order to achieve mission success. It was critical, he found, while negotiating a simulated battlefield, to “make sure the whole team knows what we’re trying to accomplish, that everybody knows their part.”
The S.O.S.T. program may not be for everyone. The training manual warns that it’s “an aggressive, experiential exercise that can carry some bumps and bruises along the learning path not to mention incredibly fun.” But for those executives seeking to drive their management team’s performance, The Jenks Group and a few US Navy SEALs have some game-changing ammunition.
About Strategic Operations Skills Training (S.O.S.T.)
S.O.S.T.™ is an experiential educational program designed to train executive teams in six “game-changing” hard skills. The program runs over one or two days and those days may be split over the course of three to six months. Each skill builds on the last and increases in intensity as the physical, intellectual, emotional and sometimes spiritual challenges become more apparent. Skills learned in field exercises are subsequently debriefed in the classroom for takeaway traction back to the executive suite. The program can be scaled for relevancy and specificity to divisional areas, and can be tailored to meet the needs and expectations unique to each organization. For more information, please visit www.sosttraining.com.