Adventure Operations Group (AOG) is a veteran owned company dedicated to the pursuit of adventurer. AOG's Training Programs and Adventures will take you "Beyond Normal Limits". AOG leads epic adventures, instructional programs, leadership training and assessments for individuals and organizations. Our programs are unique and emphasize mental focus, individual skills, leadership and personal achievement. We specialize in Human Performance Training. Working with AOG is the best way to achieve "next level" results for your corporate group or to enhance your personal capabilities. Contact AOG today to learn how we can get you or your team "Beyond Normal Limits".


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Standard

Employees on the same team may approach a task, job or project differently based upon their understanding, background, capability, motivation, level of concern or lack of focus.  Employees can have different views of reality, what the goals are, what is possible or what their team is capable of and all may believe that they are doing the right things.  In the super chaotic, modern corporate "Generation Flux" environment, managers need to ensure that their teams are cohesive and have mission focus.  There are simply too many ways for persistent poor performance to constrain individuals and teams from achieving their objectives. Corporate teams with disparate realities, lack of motivation, misaligned goals and non concurrent visions can cost Corporations millions of dollars each year in lost opportunities, wasted time and consistently missed aggressive growth goals resulting in lackluster metrics.  High performing individuals surrounded by low performing peers, or vice versa can create equally disruptive dynamics that affect individual and team confidence and performance. 

If you recognize any of these traits in your team, then your team needs to train, needs to achieve lasting mission focus and needs to be forged by an AOG team building seminar.  Taught by elite AOG Instructors, this is Military Grade Team Building that is fun and will teach your team to be more efficient, task oriented and mission focused.  Individuals will learn to function as a cohesive team, take charge and become leaders who own their outcomes and exceed the standard as they experience the kind of training and mission scenarios that drive Special Ops teams to deliver guaranteed results under any circumstance. Your team will learn what it takes to succeed day after day, month after month and year after year, consistently achieving the right objectives for your organization, and giving managers a highly competent and confident team will set the standard for others to follow.  Contact us today to learn how an AOG seminar or custom tactical adventure course will help your team stay mission ready! 

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A good team Part 2- Confidence

As my good buddy David Rutherford talks about in his Froglogic seminars, Self-Confidence is paramount for living a high performance life.  Self Confidence is assessed early for Military recruits, and usually a given for Special Operations Candidates.  The kind of people that volunteer for SEAL and Green Beret Selection courses typically don't suffer from lack of confidence.  David breaks Self-Confidence down into easily understandable concepts that can be incorporated by individuals who are seeking to improve their performance and motivation levels for their personal lives.  His seminars are powerful and impactful in motivating individuals to achieve more out of life.

Elite teams, whether tactical or corporate, must also possess "team confidence" as well.  Again, team trust and team confidence are usually a given among Military and Special Operations Units, but can often be found lacking among Corporate teams.  You must trust in your command, have confidence in your mission, and have both trust and confidence in your teammates.  High achieving teams know this is true and constantly recalibrate to maintain trust and team confidence. Trust is currently suffering in America.  We are reeling from national scandals, uncertainty about the economy and our childrens' financial future.  Many companies are uncertain about their future, as new policies take hold that challenge long held assumptions in Corporate America.  Uncertainty and lack of confidence in our country is widespread, and has crept into many organizations manifesting itself as lackluster performance, apathy and poor behavior.  Lack of confidence can negatively affect companies and teams as easily as it can impact individuals.  If left unchecked, it will cripple your organization.  If you have a team that is suffering, if you have a collection of individuals instead of a cohesive unit, if performance is below average and a culture of apathy has taken hold, if morale is low, if your team lacks confidence, then you as a leader must take action.  Here are 5 things to remember to help your regain "team confidence" and improve performance.
  • Spend more time communicating verbally- Leaders are too dependant on email. Take the time to speak to each member of your team individually and to the group at least once per week. 
  • Remind the team why they exist- Missions are paramount for creating focused teams.
  • Regularly remind your team how they accomplish their mission
  • Assess team members understanding of the mission and solicit feedback on how to improve team performance and behavior
  • It is your responsibility to train your team!  If your organization doesn't tell you how to do this, then figure it out as a leader, you are responsible for making sure it gets done.
Training and preparation is paramount for Team Confidence.  Elite Special Operations Units assess Self-Confidence in their individuals during Selection, and Special Operations Teams constantly reinforce team confidence through intense training, preparation and mission focus. 

How confident is your team?

Adventure Operations Group

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Mindset

Ø  Believe that you can do all things

Ø  Act like it

Ø  Train like a warrior preparing for a mission

Ø  Obstacles make you either angry or excited, but neither feeling lasts long as you are soon over, around or through

Ø  Passionately pursue success, mission accomplishment, and improvement

Ø  Be willing to risk

Ø  You are accountable to uphold a legacy

Ø  Believe in yourself, believe in your team, believe in your unit, believe in your mission

Ø  Trust that your training has prepared you

Ø  Train in individual skills, integrate into a team, train team skills, integrate into a unit, plan and execute missions-repeat

Ø  100% and then some

Ø  You will drive on

Ø  Though you be the lone survivor
No matter what you are doing, make sure your mind is right.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2-day Cathedral Traverse, Grand Teton National Park- Part 1 "Don't Stop, Don't Fall"

"At least once a year, do something bold, that requires real effort, real risks and where the outcome is uncertain"- B-Rad

Mission: Try to hang with Brenton Reagan of Exum Mountain Guides for 2 days in the Grand Tetons.

He had thrown down the challenge to me 2 years ago at the Outdoor Retail Show in Salt Lake City. "Come out to Jackson Hole, let me show you what we do for a few days".  He had repeated the challenge this year.  I knew that Exum was one of the most respected Guide services in North America.  I knew that the Tetons contained difficult routes.  This was exactly the kind of thing I love dropping into.  I had to go.  So this year, I took him up on the offer. We would attempt a 2-day, alpine style assault on the Grand Traverse, a route that contained some of North Americas most challenging and technical alpine terrain.

I had carved out some time in early August for the trip.  It would be difficult for sure as I had a compressed schedule, with 1 day to acclimatize and 2 days to complete the route.  There would be no warm up or practice climbs, we would jump straight into it.

I arrived in Jackson Hole on Saturday August 4, 2012 in the late afternoon.  The drive from Jackson Hole Airport to Teton Village, revealed a bustling heavy summer crowd that ranged from climbers, hikers, mountain bikers and kayakers, to large groups of Harley riders, cowboys, families in RVs and everyone in between.  Jackson Hole,WY is a mecca for just about any type of outdoor recreation you can think of.

I checked into my room at Teton Village late Saturday afternoon.  Teton Village is approximately 11 miles from Jackson Hole, and sits at about 6600 feet altitude.  In the winter, Teton Village is the spot for some of the best skiing the West has to offer.  In the summer, Teton Village is transformed into a world class downhill mountain biking resort but also boasts miles of accessible hiking trails, nearby whitewater rafting, horseback riding, wildlife tours, paragliding, and sits on the border of Grand Teton National Park. 

Grand Teton National Park is home to some of the most beautiful mountains found anywhere in the world, and some of the best alpine mountaineering in North America.  Exum Mountain Guides is among the oldest and most respected Mountain Guide Services in North America.  Exum's AMGA certified guides are in a league of their own when it comes to leading clients on truly inspiring and challenging adventures. Exum has been guiding clients on the "Grand" longer and with more summit success than any other company.

Check them out here- http://www.exumguides.com/

With only a day to adjust to the altitude since arriving from VA at sea level, I decided to spend Sunday drinking water and going for a short hike on a nearby trail just to get loosened up.   

I met up with Brenton at 1:45 AM Monday morning, for the drive into the park.  After a quick stop at Exum's office, we arrived at the Lupine Meadows parking lot at about 2:30 am, and began the job of finalizing our gear.  We divided up the tent and climbing gear, cinched down our packs, turned on our headlamps, and were on the move by 3:00 AM. 

The summit of Teewinot was our first goal, but to get there required gaining approximately a mile's worth of altitude.  We hiked through the darkness initially on a small well marked trail, later encountering steep switchbacks that slowly gave way to rock fields and class IV scrambling.  I was already feeling the effects of the altitude, but kept pushing and reciting my mantra for this trip, "Don't stop, don't fall".  We set a robust pace and I was glad that I had chosen the type of training I had been practicing for the past few months.  Even so, I had to ask him to slow down just a bit a few times.  Exum's guides can move fast and light in the mountains.  Eventually, as we neared the summit and the first signs of daybreak began to appear, we dropped our packs and Brenton tied me in to a short rope, and we set out for the summit.  We tagged the summit of Teewinot at about 6:30 AM, and from there the view in all directions was spectacular.  1 down, how many to go?

Dark clouds approached from the Southeast (seen behind me in the above picture), and revealed evidence of what local forecasters had predicted as a 40% chance of showers for Monday August 6, 2012.  Soon, we were taking cover next to a rock wall, wearing all of our Gore-Tex as we waited out a 30 minute rain storm.  We contemplated turning back, but saw no lightning and soon the rain ended. We decided to push on.

The rain made the climbing slow, and a little treacherous for the next few hours as the overcast skies slowed the drying out of the extremely exposed and challenging terrain between the summit of Teewinot and Mount Owen.  "Don't stop, don't fall".  We continued our slow push to Owen.  Down climbing, rappels, exposed ridges, ice ax and snow to the Koven col.  A fall here, would not be good.  "The Summit of Mount Owen is one of the most difficult summits in the park, by it's easiest route", Brenton said as we tagged it and started our down climb.  I was feeling the effects of little sleep and a rush to 12,928 feet, "Don't stop, don't fall". 

The rain and resulting slow climbing meant that a 2 day Grand Traverse probably wasn't going to happen, combined with my short time at altitude, our progress wasn't fast enough to go for the traverse.  I was physically and mentally crushed after 13 hours of hard climbing on day 1, still moving and climbing, but probably not fast enough to make it over the Grand before dark. We decided to bivy on the West Ledges, between Mount Owen and the North Ridge of the Grand.  It was a good call, I needed to recharge.  This mission was now a 2-day Cathedral Traverse, and we still had one full day of very challenging climbing ahead of us on the Grand.

At the bivy site on the West ledges, unreal view.  We arrived with about 8 OZ of water each, and no snow melt to refill.  Brenton rapped into the Gunsight notch, chopped snow with an ice ax, and climbed back out so we would have snow to melt for water.  Much appreciated!

A night's sleep at near 12,000 feet was exactly what I needed.  I woke up feeling stronger.  Day 2 would be heading toward the summit of the Grand, via the North Ridge and Italian Cracks.  Some GU, a little cheese and salami, and snow melt water for breakfast and we were moving again.

                                          The first of 11 pitches on the way to the summit.

AOG Individual Capabilities Enhancement (I.C.E) training with Exum!

    "Don't stop, don't fall"  Climbing through this section required total focus and control.  Little margin for error and no place to fall.  2-man team, over 13,000 ft high on an alpine mountaineering route means relying on your training, physical condition, equipment and each other. 

Summit shot on the Grand, 2 day Cathedral Traverse.

Climbing with Exum is unlike any other experience, because they are unlike any other guide service.  They will put you in the middle of real adventure, and you will come away with new or renewed skills, and a sense of achievement that will leave you wanting more.  Brenton, one of Exum's most experienced guides, is also involved with XMS3, Exum's Military and Special Operations Mountaineering Programs.  You will not find a more advanced or relevant training program anywhere that will prepare your unit or team for the dynamic challenges of conducting tactical operations in an alpine setting.  Check out XMS3:  XMS 3- Mountain Systems Safety Survival

This was a tough 2 days.  I arrived in Jackson Hole with one day to get ready, and found myself being truly tested from the very beginning.  Capabilities stretched, skills enhanced and new friends made!

This trip is accessible and achievable by anyone willing to put in the preparation and training.  The summit of the Grand is within your reach.  Exum specializes in 1 or 2 day summit climbs.  Contact AOG to find out how I planned for this trip, or contact Exum if you are ready for the challenge!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Traditional fleece VS. Arc Teryx Atom SV with Coreloft

I had the opportunity (was paid) to stand around in the cold yesterday and into last night.  I just happened to have numerous layering pieces and jackets in my truck, and since I wasn't in charge of anything, I figured it was a good chance to do a little experimenting with outerwear and see which pieces worked the best when standing stationary.  The temperature was in the mid 40's when I started, (around 6:00 pm) and falling steady with a light wind.  For a base layer I wore an Icebreaker Merino long sleeve shirt and over that I wore a mid-weight polyester blend top.  I wore just those two layers for about an hour, until I started shivering just a little.  I grabbed an old Polartec fleece jacket that was Army issue from around 2004.  It was a heavy weight jacket, but very simple in design with no technical features to speak of.  After 30 minutes of wearing it, I had warmed up a little bit, but was still shivering just a little and by now the temperature was in the mid-high 30's.  The traditional fleece jacket had almost no impact on the wind, which cut right through the fabric.  Next I grabbed my Arc Teryx Atom SV hoody.  This is an insulated jacket that Arc Teryx describes as "a super-warm mid layer on frigid days or as an outer layer while hanging out in camp".   The latter would describe my current conditions.  The outer fabric of the Atom SV is Gossamera (a light and breathable stretch nylon fabric that is both water and wind resistant) while the insulation is Coreloft (a polyester fibre that is thermally efficient, very compressible and has excellent loft retention even when wet).  I put the jacket on and zipped it all the way up.  Almost instantly I stopped shivering and within minutes I actually felt my temperature start to equal out and I felt warmer, which is very difficult to achieve once you have become chilled in the outdoors.  The Atom SV blocked the wind effectively and the Coreloft insulation is amazingly warm and light. 

Easy to grade this test, the Arc Teryx Atom SV crushes the traditional fleece jacket.

Check out Arc Teryx's website for more info and customer reviews:

Check it out, and get out and have fun.