Quick overview of our gear outfitting station. We inspect each piece of gear before every use, even if it was used previously that day. We check every strap and piece of hardware to ensure there is nothing that would impair the safety of our guests.
Welcome to Empower Adventures! We offer a unique Zip Line Canopy Tour here in Middleburg Virginia at the Salamander Resort and Spa. Our experience is fully guided with two guides per tour. They take care of all the safety aspect so you don’t have to worry about being an expert since you have two of them with you. Our course consists of 5 zip lines and two suspension sky bridges. The zip lines are progressive in nature and get longer and faster as you continue through the forest. Our signature line is 670 feet long and you can reach speeds of up to 40mph! We cannot wait to have you come join us!
Here at Empower Adventures we love taking teams to the next level with their trust and communication. Our Survival 101 program does just that, while getting the group outside and enjoying nature and learning some cool things along the way. The foundation of this experience is establishing a G.R.I.P. not only for the experience but for each task. GRIP stands for Goal clarity, Role clarity, Interactions, and Process. By identifying and agreeing on the goal for the group, what role everyone will play, how you are going to accomplish the goal, and most importantly are you interacting in the best way possible you will learn how to succeed in a short amount of time. By applying the GRIP model several times during the experience it is easy to then carry it over into the workplace, and that is the discussion we have after the experience. The outcomes and takeaways are tremendous and allow the group to take hold of what they accomplished and apply it back to their own roles and teams to drive success for the company. As you can see from the pictures below, we have a lot of fun in the process!
I recently had the pleasure of working with Airbus Americas, and designed a custom team building program to build teamwork, trust, and communication within the group. Building this type of program is my favorite part of what I do as a professional. Blending the fun of the initiatives, while creating a situation that can be translated back to the workplace is a challenge I thrive on. Each team takes on a new approach, and has different needs. Airbus had enough people to split up into three teams, and they all had different solutions and strategies for each challenge we presented them with. Starting with simple challenges, and then growing into more complex activities allowed the teams to develop their own process, norms, and communication style within the team. Working with the team leadership to identify the goals of the experience I selected specific initiatives to achieve the outcomes they desired. This format also allows me to know what to look for and take note of so that when we have our debrief discussion I can identify how the initiative related to the goals, and most importantly allow the teams to make the connections between the initiative and the workplace. After the final challenge, which strings several small initiatives together in a short amount of time, we collectively discussed how to move forward from the experience. The teams identified that leadership, communication, strategy, attitude, and trust were all factors that lead to success during the experience. On the opposite side distractions, lack of skills assessments, not listening, and rushing the process all lead to failure at some point. Overall the teams decided that as they returned to their jobs they would keep an open mind, stay focused, identify their skill-sets, optimize communication,and don’t let the everyday rush impact the team. Clearly we created a fun environment to drive real outcomes that can now be relayed far beyond the experience.
One of my favorite aspects of being a zip line guide is being able to participate with our kiddo zips. Taking kids out as young as 4 years old may seem like a daunting task, but being able to watch their confidence grow throughout the experience is really rewarding. When the children first arrive you can see the hesitancy on their faces (sometimes the parents too!). The gear up processes is usually filled with questions, asking about each piece of equipment as well as the obvious “Will I fall?” Then we move down to our ground school and this is where the change begins. Getting to experience how the harness and zip will actually feel, before moving on to the bigger lines, does wonders. Instantly the questions are done and all you can see is a big grin spread across their faces. With ground school behind them they are ready and can’t wait to get to the main event.
Once we get to our kiddo line they get to see just how far and high they will be going and some of that hesitancy returns, but once I tell them that at any point if they don’t want to go any higher all they have to do is let me know and we can stop there. As the guide I have a rope attached to their trolley and I am literally pulling them up the line from the ground and thus have total control of how high they go. This is very reassuring for the kids and adds just a bit more confidence which really empowers them to try the zip out and not give up.
The first zip is the one that truly makes the experience. We usually never make it all the way to the top of the line as the kids really start to see how high they are going. I’d say 95% of the time they say they are high enough and so I stop pulling and let them zip from where they are. After that first zip that big grin is right back on their faces and now all they want to do is go higher and faster. The next two zips I get to take them all the way up, and by all the way I mean 35 feet in the air! The rest of the zip is just smiles and laughter and the hardest part of it all is when the zips are done, but the kids just want to do more. Gone is the fear and in its place is confidence and a new sense of adventure. That look of confidence on a little kids face is the most rewarding experience for me as a guide.
According to the Harvard Business Review, coaching your employees may be the single most important skill for strong leaders. In a study of Fortune 100 companies, the majority of leaders reported that coaching improved productivity, quality, and teamwork. Coaching can also lift morale and lower turnover.
I think there is nothing more refreshing and admirable than a company who employs certified coaches for their employees. Google does it!
Coaching is a skill, an artwork, and a profession requiring specific education, continuous personal development, and an understanding of different assessment tools.
Coaching is about actively listening and engaging in empathic conversation. It’s about giving direction, through asking the right questions and waiting for the answers. It’s about feeling for the answers that lie buried within.
Unlike consulting, coaching digs deep into people’s wants, needs, and fears. And unlike therapy, coaching spends very little time in the “has been” of the past and focuses on the present and the future.
Here are a few questions I ask my clients over and over:
Where are you now?
Where do you want to be in a year from now?
What’s working for you right now?
What isn’t working for you?
But there’s more. Coaching is an art form. It’s about intuition, about when to speak and when to listen, about the soft skills that create trust, and the hard skills that create change. Most importantly coaching is about understanding personalities.
Most coaches use some form of assessment tool to understand their clients better. And it’s something a lot of companies are starting to do also. It’s an opportunity to understand your employees better. Now you can understand:
Why they do that
Why they say that
Why they react like that
There are a lot of different assessment tools out there right now. Here are a few I like to use. I think they would be beneficial in your business also:
Myers Briggs—this is always a favorite. It gets the conversation started amongst your employees and people in general. You can find the Myers-Briggs test online.
The 5 Love Languages—I used to think this was a quiz only for romantic relationships but I know better now. It’s a quick online test that gets you thinking about why some people make you feel like you’re on cloud nine and others like you don’t matter. It’s great for figuring out personality clashes at work. Click here for the online quiz.
DiSC profile— this assessment tool is used by millions of people every year. This personality test shows you how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress and how you solve problems.. You can find several DiSC tests online.
CVI assessment—a newer assessment tool that explains your innate nature and how you are wired to think, act, and communicate. It can be used to increase personal awareness, improve teamwork, hire the right person for the job, or match people with jobs to create only top performers. Unlike other personality tests, this character-assessment boasts a 94% repeat reliability rate. Click here to take the assessment.
Coaching will do wonders for your employees. Who doesn’t want to talk to someone who understands them, who cares about their wants, needs, and desires, and who takes an active interest in their emotional well-being? If you don’t want to hire a coach quite yet, you will now have some tools to start you on your path to understanding “them” better. Because in the long run, your business problems always come back to your people problems. As Steve Covey said: “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Dr. Jung is a professional coach working with individuals and small businesses eager to invest in their personal growth, their leadership skills, and their teams. She helps you thrive by tapping into those values most important to you and your team. It’s her mission to solve your personal challenges and your people problems by creating a positive and emotionally safe workplace for you and your employees.
Dr. Jung heals businesses from the inside out; she looks for the causes behind your challenges and addresses those, not just the symptoms.
She is dedicated to turning your company into an efficient, organized, and happy business that will thrive even when you are out of the office. Click here to learn more.
I recently spoke to a group of veterans about becoming business owners and entrepreneurs at Fort Belvoir Virginia. This opportunity came to me from The 100 Entrepreneurs Project http://100entproject.org who helps transition veterans to entrepreneurs. These warriors have sacrificed throughout their Army careers and now as they get ready for the next chapter in their lives I could see the excitement and anticipation in their eyes. I felt like I was in familiar territory, not because of the uniforms and unique feel of an Army base but because I was in the same position as these warriors just 8 years ago. I was excited about my transition to a new life but worried about the reality of needing to make it “on my own” without the support and structure of the Army lifestyle.
I spoke at this event for about 30 minutes and felt good about the way my presentation was received. I remember seeing a lot of head nods and fielded several questions at the end but what I enjoyed the most was talking to the audience one-on-one following the event and hearing what they took away from my remarks. Veteran after veteran came up to me and said “thank you” and mentioned how these three points of advice energized them:
Don’t limit yourself. Have an unshakeable confidence in yourself to “figure it out.” This means trusting that even though you don’t know where the finish line is, that you will figure out how to get there. By putting in the work, dedicating yourself to your cause and becoming an expert, you will reach your goals. There are no other options and no excuses.
As introduced to us by Interation Associates, there must be balance across all 3 dimensions of success to achieve your goals: results, process, relationships. As business owners and team leaders, we must not just focus on results. Results are generally the focus of organizational goals but in order to achieve success over a sustained period of time, we as individuals and teams must create successful processes and have strong, reliable relationships. The three dimensions are intertwined and must be considered when creating culture in the workplace.
Sell yourself and your product with passion and heart. People gravitate to positive energy and feed off authentic, heart felt enthusiasm. Showing people your heart and passion will earn you loyal clients and customers.
I am so grateful to The 100 Entrepreneurs Project for inviting me to speak and feel so uplifted by the veterans I got to speak with. I know they will be successful in the next phase of their lives and I can’t wait to see the great innovations they come up with.
Joe DeRing is the founder and owner of Empower Adventures. With facilities in Connecticut and Virginia, Empower blends fun and exciting adventures with leadership development and team building for a truly unique professional development experience. Click the links for more information about Joe and his empowerment programs at Empower Adventures (VA) and Empower Leadership Sports (CT)
The best leaders recognize that trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It affects every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged. As noted leadership expert and author Stephen Covey said, “It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our lives — both personally and professionally.”
These days, it seems trust is on the decline. Trust in our culture, in our institutions, and in our companies is significantly lower than a generation ago. Covey states, “Research shows that only 49% of employees trust senior management, and only 28% believe CEOs are a credible source of information.” We are in the midst of a trust crisis and if we don’t find leaders who are willing to build and engender trust among their organizations and communities then we may find ourselves stuck in a culture of distrust. This will lead to organizations and companies that lose out to the competition overseas, stray from the ideals that make America great and become completely inhuman and robotic.
The best leaders focus on building trust within their organizations – it becomes a specific goal just like any other goal. This goal must be communicated, measured and discussed constantly and when it is a priority for the leadership, it will become a priority for entire organization.
The transformation starts with building credibility at the personal level. Covey writes, “The foundation of trust is your own credibility, and it can be a real differentiator for any leader. A person’s reputation is a direct reflection of their credibility, and it precedes them in any interactions or negotiations they might have.” When a person’s credibility and reputation are high, it enables them to create trust fast. Trust equals productivity and efficiency. When your organization is productive and efficient, you can consider yourself on the road to victory.
Have you made an attempt to build trust with your team? Have you been the catalyst to making trust development a goal for your organization?
Joe DeRing is the founder and owner of Empower Adventures. With facilities in Connecticut and Virginia, Empower blends fun and exciting adventures with leadership development and team building for a truly unique professional development experience. Click the links for more information about Joe and his trust development programs at Empower Adventures (VA) and Empower Leadership Sports (CT).
Empower founder Joe DeRing was featured in today’s issue of the Washington Business Journal. Hear how Empower came to be and why Joe’s experiences as an Infantry Officer in the US Army led him to create the current programs at Empower Adventures.
When was the last time you read a great article or book related to teamwork or team development? Most managers and leaders we talk with cannot think of a book they would recommend on this topic. That’s because teamwork and team effectiveness involve a wide range of human interaction, goal setting, problem solving, leadership, and project or work specific factors that must be addressed in a dynamic environment. Extraordinary Teams (ETs) Win more often than others and they achieve ground breaking results. How? There are 5 major factors:
Purpose- Extraordinary teams have a clear sense of purpose that goes beyond productivity and includes customer satisfaction or social impact objectives.
Goals- ETs also have clearly defined goals that are measured on a weekly and monthly basis to prevent slippage in pace to year-end goals.
Roles – Next ETs clearly define individual team member roles and responsibilities to drive accountability and the opportunity to celebrate individual contributions.
Process Innovation – ET’s also innovate process to improve effectiveness and they achieve this through open dialogue and a culture of communication that encourages and creates engagement. Sound complicated? It can be. Getting here or maintaining the highest levels of teamwork is an on-going effort and this requires investment in teamwork.
Think about it, professional work teams are the only competitive teams that do not take time to practice. Sports and military teams spend more time practicing and preparing than they do executing the game or the mission. Individually and when the stakes are high, most of us practice and prepare in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. We do this when we are going to give an important presentation; we take 2 to 3 hours or more to prepare a 1 hour presentation.
As a former coach and Army Veteran, I know the importance of practice. That’s why my partners and I developed the Empower Educational process. We develop highly effective teams through a proven system of team assessment. This process assesses current levels of teamwork in a number of critical areas.
Next we design and put teams through real-time simulations and challenges that test a teams current ability and also highlight areas for improvement.
Then we equip teams with tools, models, and skills that transform ordinary teams into Extraordinary Teams by:
Building commitment to team culture.
Introducing outcome-driven approaches for communication and feedback
We use our canopy tour and zip lines, and other exciting team challenges to help teams discover that they can have fun achieving seemingly impossible objectives.
Sound interesting to you? Well don’t just sit there, pick up the phone and get ready for practice. We are ready to show you how great your team can be! Contact our office today! (540) 692-9471 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see a local team in the midst of becoming “extraordinary” here at Empower Adventures in Middleburg!
Find the latest information on Empower Adventures’ zipline packages, team building activities and other fun adventures on our blog. We’ll post lots of great information here to help keep you informed on our ziplining adventures. The staff at Empower Adventures hopes these blogs will help you make an informed decision on where and how to experience zip lining in VA.