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Solana Beach company offers SEAL-style strategic skills training

Sharon Jenks, founder of Strategic Operations Skills Training. Courtesy photo
Sharon Jenks, founder of Strategic Operations Skills Training. Courtesy photo

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to train as a Navy SEAL? Thanks to a Solana Beach company, now you can find out.

Strategic Operations Skills Training, or SOST, stems from The Jenks Group, a Solana Beach-based consulting company headed by local entrepreneur Sharon Jenks. The program was originally developed so executives could learn how to apply the strategic principles that keep special operations forces successful on the battlefield to their business.

“Think about where you’re putting your time and your energy every single day,” said Jenks, who founded The Jenks Group in 1993. “Is it working?”

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Four years in development, the program previously collaborated with Rangers in Utah when the company was based in Northern California. After Jenks relocated to Solana Beach in 2013, the company brought former Navy SEALs on board.

With instruction by retired SEALs, the program uses a realistic battlefield on a San Diego film studio lot, complete with special effects to heighten the experience for participants.

Through the two-day program, executives participate in physically and mentally challenging exercises modeled on successful military strategies, such as how to handle an AR-15 rifle and how to operate as a team to clear an area and subdue hostile forces. These challenges help executives close the six primary gaps that Jenks said are at the root of all corporate performance issues: discipline, focus, trust, training, governance and strategic effectiveness.

“Because we’ve been doing strategic planning for so long, we have realized that over time, executive teams are becoming less focused,” said Jenks, adding that access to technology may be to blame. “It is creating disconnection with the teams. They aren’t fully present when they’re in the room.”

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The educational experience is tailored for every company. One-day programs are also now available for executives looking for a new, more effective approach to achieving corporate goals.

“We’re very flexible because we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all for companies,” Jenks said.

Because of the program’s success, Jenks has launched the SOST Experience, a unique self-defense course.

A separate entity, the SOST Experience offers individuals or groups who want to test their knowledge, ability and skill in a hyper-realistic environment. Also led by retired SEALs, the full-day program promotes gun safety and shows participants how to safely handle, load and fire a weapon. Participants are then placed in real-life scenarios, such as a home invasion, that develop self-awareness, decision-making and hand-eye coordination.

Groups of friends and family members have gone through the program, even firefighters and sheriff’s officials, Jenks said. Participants must be over the age of 21 and have a valid U.S. passport.

“It creates awareness so you can make sure you stay safe,” Jenks said.

For more about SOST Training for executives, visit sosttraining.com; for more about the SOST Experience, visit www.sostexperience.com.

A portion of the proceeds from both programs goes to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

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“I like helping people,” Jenks said. “When I started my business, it was because I wanted to help companies get better at what they did, I wanted to help individuals grow in their careers. With these programs, I’m able to help more people.”


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