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Special Forces Organizational Culture
Imagine that you are an elite Special Forces soldier operating in a complex and dangerous conflict zone. You’ve trained with the best possible team mates, but in your life-or-death occupation, you are required to constantly draw together functioning teams from whatever the “Human-Terrain” can provide in any far-flung arena you find yourself in.
Now you’ve arrived at a remote outpost deep in denied territory, and you and a few colleagues are responsible for holding the place. Staring back at you, you find a ragged assemblage of security forces from different local tribal and governmental factions speaking multiple distinct languages, young inexperienced conventional soldiers who do not trust the local forces, allied personal from two different NATO countries, and frightened civilians. Among these groups exist age old animosities, cultural rifts, language barriers, and a wide spectrum of values, beliefs, and motivations.
Others can throw their hands up and say the situation is impossible, but you are a Special Forces Operator, and this is your “situation-normal.” Each of these distinct groups know this, and they are all looking to you hoping for answers and expecting miracles. What you do next will determine whether these human-resources, whom are “non-organic” to your elite team, will support you in your goals or not. Your ability to create synergy among these disparate individuals will directly determine your survival as well as that of those under your protection.
This dynamic cross-cultural challenge is exactly the playing field which US Special Forces (Green Berets) were designed for, and our organizational culture and experiences reflect this
Does your organization face similar challenges?
The deadline is approaching, and there is still a lot of work to do. Your team has plenty of talent—sure—but will they all work together when it counts, and put the group’s goals ahead of their own interests? Will they take direction willingly, and lead with inspiration?
In order to accomplish your goals, there are plenty of other people you are counting on who are not an organic part of your team, but you need their help none-the-less. They all come from different backgrounds, have different values and interests, speak different organizational “languages.” Will you and your teammates be able to communicate with them, forge meaningful relationships and win them over to your cause?
This situation is common in any top notch business, foundation, or organization, as well as in the missions undertaken by our nationas elite Special Operations teams—often with the most dire and far reaching consequences. Effective civilian organizations are faced with many of the same hurdles that our nations elite encounter in the field. Challenges that include complex communications both within the team and without—across cultural, linguistic, and value based lines. Issues of effective planning and flexible execution. Conflicts of ego, leadership, and commitment.
What, then, can a civilian organization made up of A+ personalities learn from the culture of Special Forces?
Over decades of conducting life-or-death missions under ambiguous, harsh, and complex conditions, Special Forces has evolved a system of effective leadership and team dynamics which maximize both creativity and commitment to the goal. A culture which has developed proven concepts such as:
-Full mission profile planning
-Human terrain operations
These concepts may have been developed under combat conditions, but they can be applied with stunning effectiveness to non-combat organizations.
In your office or boardroom, are the stakes high? Are peoples lively hoods and futures on the line? If the answer is yes, then learn from the lessons of Special Forces, and the craft of the Green Beret. Through our programs and resources, take these skills from the battlefield to the boardroom, and turn your personnel into “Special Operators,” no matter what they do.
A Range of Experiences
Our Special Forces program can be experienced anywhere from an indoor conference center, to our mountain training facility, or at the outdoor venue of your choosing. If you choose an outdoor experience, your people will learn wilderness and tactical skills, taught by experienced Special Forces instructors, which will come to play in accomplishing your mission. These skills can include:
-team building exercises
-climbing and rappelling
-winter travel (snowshoes or skis)
Whether you choose an indoor or outdoor experience, your group will receive cultural and “area” briefings pertaining to the mission AO (area of operations), as well as intelligence briefs and training which will be crucial to mission success.
Training will include rare inside information on the structure and function of the Special Forces “Operational Detachment Alpha.” Known as an “ODA” for short, this special detachment is comprised of no more then 12 elite Green Berets. ODA’s are routinely given responsibility for areas and tasks that could otherwise take thousands of conventional troops to control. Your people will be challenged to:
-Form into ODAs
-Create a meaningful team patch and motto
-Learn team positions and responsibilities
-Plan and execute team missions in support of the greater unit mission
Once your ODA or ODAs have been formed and trained, a mission will “drop” from up high. Given the structure of the comprehensive Special Forces planning template, you will lay the foundations for successful execution, and flexible response to contingencies and chaos.
Mission Execution Planning
Armed with elite training, planning, and intel, your people will enter an intricate scenario, complete with complex role players and stimulating challenges, where they will have to put all of their tools to use in order to succeed. Under these conditions, derived from real Special Forces missions, they will learn to come together as a team, and lead with sincerity and inspiration.
Not Just Role-play, but “Real-play”
Everyone knows about the legendary tactical capabilities of the Green Berets, but did you know that mastery of the “Human Terrain” is one of the most vital of the Special Forces skill sets? More often then not, Special Forces ODA’s are expected to work “by, with, and through” the local populace to achieve mission success. This means that when your teams hit the ground in our scenario, they will need to conduct a range of human interactions across a spectrum of cultures, beliefs, and motivations. To this end, our role players provide realistic and reactive subjects to develop high level communication skills aimed at turning every interaction into a potential asset for your team.
Opt for one of our fictional scenarios complete with multi-layered backstory and personalities, or enter our Afghanistan Experience, and interact with actual Afghan role players who have served side-by-side with US forces to defend their country from the insurgency. In this case, you will get a unique and genuine window into a real and complex culture, while receiving the highest level of leadership and team training.
After Action Report
Whether your mission plays out over acres of beautiful and challenging wilderness terrain, or within an indoor venue, there will be plenty of vibrant lessons and experiences to debrief at the end of the day. Facilitated by our Special Forces instructors and experienced leadership consultants, the accomplishments of the day will be critiqued, and a plan will be made to cary those accomplishments forward on your organizations own mission.
After facing the shared trials, there is no shortage of smiles, laughs, and good energy, and this carries right into the post mission social, where everyone can share their “war stories” over good food and drink.
Mild or Extra Spicy?
We tailor our programs in difficulty and function to accommodate the capabilities and goals of your personnel, from scenarios requiring little physical exertion, to challenging and exciting wilderness adventures. Persons with physical limitations will still be able to perform vital roles in your mission.
How Does WWM Develop the Right Custom Mission for My Organization?
We realize that what we offer is unlike anything else available in team building and corporate leadership training. Because of this, we provide short luncheon or afterwork programs where we will come to your location and introduce you to our unique philosophy and program through fun team games and a Special Forces informative presentation. These presentations are free of charge and there is no commitment to book one of our events.
Our experienced consultants and Special Forces instructors are available to conduct an assessment of your organization to determine strengths, short comings, and areas that require special attention. Based on these considerations, as well as your desires and available budget, we will develop the best possible mission for you.
Choice of Venue
For those who are in the Denver/Boulder area, or can travel here, we conduct operations at a stunning Colorado mountain guest ranch, just 45 minutes from downtown Boulder. The ranch lies in the inspiring Indian Peaks in sight of the Continental Divide, and is complete with comfortable conference rooms, a full dining facility, and various lodging options, all surrounded by countless miles of National Forest.
If preferred, we can bring our program to the outdoor or indoor venue of your choosing.