Preparing for Your Always Green Adventure.

The San Mateo coastline, near Pigeon Point lighthouse, is the scenic and surprisingly secluded spot for many of our outdoor learning sessions during our “Growing a Greener Economy” 5-day team building retreat.

“Be prepared.”

“Prepared for what?”

“Why, for any old thing.”

Robert Baden-Powell, In response to a question about the scout motto.

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Q: Why are your training sessions called “Omega Wolf Trails”?

A: At sempervirens117.com, we seek our inspiration from nature. In the case of our team training sessions, we looked to the lives and survival methods of the wolf packs successfully reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s for ideas of how to think flexibly, adapt effectively, and lead collectively to attain a set of commonly-held objectives. 

Omega wolves traditionally occupy the lowest rank in the pack hierarchy, but recent studies by some wolf biologists have suggested that they play essential regulatory roles in maintaining group cohesion and diffusing tension during times of stress. 

Our team training organizer always occupies the role of the “omega wolf” in each session and allows the group to assign themselves the remaining roles needed successfully to complete the set of tasks assigned within the time constraints provided. 

Q: What makes your training sessions different from others?

A: Unlike traditional leadership seminars and workshops that feature a prominent speaker who imparts her or his wisdom upon the group in a linear learning fashion, our sessions extract from the group itself the collective talents and hidden knowledge bases that might otherwise go unrecognized or unnoticed. 

We set the session guidelines; we do not give hand-holding or step-by-step guidance. Our main role comes at the feedback and discussion stage of each session, where our organizer’s many years of experience as a university professor and lecturer comes into play. He personally leads each training session and provides feedback in-person as well as online, after the session has ended. 

Q: What do you mean by “divergent thinking skills”?

A: Divergent thinking skills are those that develop one’s brainstorming abilities that lead to out-of-the-box innovations and ideas – even if they initially seem unrealistic or implausible. To think divergently is to allow one’s mind to wander within a mental landscape that may at times seems unfamiliar or even threatening but that can with practice be mastered.

By setting our team training sessions in majestic natural spaces and pairing them with informal seminar-style discussions and shared meals afterward, we encourage participants to strengthen their abilities not only to think great thoughts but also to express them with words and in ways that others easily can comprehend. 

Q: What do you mean by “alternative forms of group-based leadership”?

A: Wolf packs do not have a single alpha leader. They always have two. “Male alphas” traditionally lead hunts and protect territory, but “female alphas” generally take the lead in deciding directions for pack travel and make key choices about how and when to add new members to the pack. In addition, other duties are shared in ways that do not require a fixed hierarchy but rather layered levels of learning and mentorship, from the most experienced members to those who are newly born. 

Our team training sessions are purposely built to simulate exactly these sorts of pack survival situations and group-based decision-making processes. Our team organizer observes and notes the ways that participants interact with each other while engaged in the sessions and summarizes these findings at the seminar-style meal meeting that follows each outdoor exercise. 

Q: What do you mean by “work-life harmony”?

A: The concept is taken from the writings of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, who prefers it to the more commonly used term, “work-life balance.” Nature, which is the source of our core principles at sempervirens117.com, also works like that. The natural world is never in balance but is constantly in a dynamic and often unstable state of flux. Only over the longer term does a lasting equilibrium emerge in which the various components of a natural environment learn to exist in harmony.

We believe that the same principles work for individuals as well as for companies. It takes time, effort, and experimentation to find a harmony between work, play, and non-work related responsibilities. They likely will never be in perfect “balance,” but they will stabilize enough to enable a life lived in peace, prosperity, and harmony for all.

Q: What is included in the cost per participant?

A: The $250 cost per participant of the day-long team training sessions includes 6 to 8 hours of intense, hands-on training in outdoors settings as well as at a follow-up seminar-style meal meeting afterward. It also includes online follow-up feedback with each participant. Any tour or tasting fees at local wineries (Session #3) or craft distilleries (Session #4) are also covered. 

The cost of meals is intentionally not included, as this is very much intended to be a core, decision-making component in the team leadership training exercise. Observing how the group handles this often tricky shared financial situation is part of the experience and will be noted by the session organizer. 

Workshop rates include the cost of four days of intensive, hands-on training, follow-up feedback, pre-workshop preparations, three nights of hotel accommodations, and all associated tour and tasting fees.

Q: Why do you limit your day-long training sessions to 15 or less and your workshops to 10 or less?

A: Each day-long team leadership training session is designed to extract maximum effort and input from all participants, including at the post-exercise meal at the conclusion of each session. Based on our lead organizer’s many years of academic teaching and overseeing seminar discussions with undergraduate and graduate students, we believe that more than 15 participants would be an ineffective means of realizing our most cherished training goals.

The workshop number is capped at 10 because this enables us to book the sorts of tours and boutique-style hotel accommodations that we feel makes our Omega Wolf Trails programs unique and particularly powerful for realizing ambitious team leadership training goals within a relatively short timespan.

Q: When do the training sessions end?

A: Sessions end when the concluding meal and discussion are over, not before. There is no fixed end time, other than that desired by the group as a whole. In addition, participants will receive individualized online written feedback from the session organizer and may wish to schedule additional training sessions at a later date. Each team leadership training session is purposefully designed to be different in significant ways, so some companies who wish to derive total benefit for their most valued employees may wish to book two, three, or all four day-long sessions over a set period of time.

Q: Is there a best time of the year to schedule a team training session?

A: In Northern California, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is never a bad time to schedule a team training session. Workshops in Anderson Valley should ideally scheduled in the late spring, summer, or early fall, with plenty of lead time to make all necessary travel and tour arrangements.

While the day-long training sessions are intended to be of maximum benefit to companies based in and around Silicon Valley, there is no reason why companies headquartered outside of the area – including overseas – cannot schedule sessions as well. To discuss the best times of the year to do so, please contact us at 408-908-0908 or email sempervirens117@gmail.com

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