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Pumping The Colors® is an active hands-on team building simulation for groups of five to ten participants (multiple teams can be run simultaneously). It challenges them to execute a complicated task under conditions that require them to perform as a team. The process of accomplishing the task distills the excitement of a game and the inspiration of solving a real-life problem into an unexpectedly powerful learning experience.

More specifically Pumping The Colors is:

  • Perfect for giving new teams a successful start.
  • Great for helping teams that are in trouble.
  • Excellent for teams that want to continuously improve their ability to work as a team.
  • Critical for companies that are weighing the pros and cons of instituting team concepts into their work force.

Pumping The Colors is for any group that wants to introduce teams to the organization, improve the ability of existing teams to be more productive, focus on total quality management, boost productivity or morale after right/down-sizing, or introduce teams as part of a new corporate philosophy.

Related articles about Pumping The Colors.

Pumping The Colors: build skills, deal with difficult issues, practice as a team.

Most work teams are very good at setting schedules, budgets and goals, but find it almost impossible to talk about the team issues. We believe this is true for three reasons:

  1. They don’t know what behaviors or skills are required to create an effective team.
  2. Team members try to avoid conflict. It’s very hard for teams to understand that, unless they face difficult issues squarely, they will come back to poison the team.
  3. Teams don’t have the opportunity to practice as a team. As Peter Senge said, “If anything, team skills are more challenging to develop than individual skills. This is why learning teams need ‘practice fields’, ways to practice together so that they can develop their collective learning skills. The almost total absence of meaningful ‘practice’ or ‘rehearsal’ is probably the predominant factor that keep most management teams from being effective learning units.”

We believe Pumping The Colors answers all three of these roadblocks to team development. The Seven Practices teaches them what they have to do to become a better team. The Pumping The Colors experience gives them practice becoming a better team. And the Pumping The Colors self-coaching method gives them a way of using their real world team activities as a practice field. The Seven Practices self coaching method also greatly reduces the conflict on the team by bringing up tough issues before they become serious problems.

Pumping The Colors is delivered in TEAMS but purchased in two pieces:

  1. A Reusable Director's Kit with everything needed for the facilitators portion.
  2. One set of participant materials for each person going through the program, these materials are consumable.

A MASTER PTC KIT, which includes all of the materials needed for the TEAM process is used during the simulation then returned to us for cleaning and refurbishing. The use of the Master Kit is included in the per person price.

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Director’s Kit: $400
PTC Director’s Kit – Order Now
Full Day Participant Materials (1): $195 Per Participant
Half Day Participant Materials (1): $135 Per Participant
The Participant Materials need to be ordered directly from Simulation Training Systems due to special shipping details. Please call (858 450-3400) or contact us.

Contact Us To Order Your No Obligation 30 Day Review Of The PTC Director’s Kit Today!

How will team members benefit from Pumping The Colors?

Team members will:

  • Understand the seven behaviors required of every member of a high performing team.
  • Clarify and set standards of performance for their team. Once these standards are set, team members will use these standards to encourage, motivate, expect, and demand high performing team behavior from one another.
  • Understand the three basic types of teams and which type is best for each situation.
  • Understand, many for the first time in their lives, what it really means to be part of a team.
  • Understand the importance and role of team leadership in different types of teams.
  • Learn how his or her work style affects the team.
  • Learn how the work style of others affects the team.
  • See improved team performance, strength, and confidence.
  • Know what type of work styles to include in different types of teams.
  • Understand the different types of teams and how to create the best team for the task.
  • Learn what highly individualistic team members must do to be effective team members.
  • Learn how to avoid the 6 most common types of team problems.
  • Learn how to resolve conflicts in a constructive manner.
  • Learn how to conduct an effective team meeting.
  • Learn what they must do to continuously improve team performance.

Teach your teams to coach themselves to high performance.

The Seven Practices of High Performing Teams, developed by R. Garry Shirts, are used as the foundation for teams coaching themselves to higher performance. Using the exercises with the Seven Practices the teams will: (a) reduce turnover (b) increase the chances of turning potentially destructive conflicts into benefits for the team (c) increase the effectiveness of planning and follow through meetings (d) improve the performance on every one of the Seven Practices (e) increase the probability of becoming a high performing team (f) make it possible for new members to participate and feel part of the team.

All members of the team understand and agree on the team’s purpose.
Team members understand and agree on: (a) each team member’s role, (b) the team’s short and long term objectives, (c) the schedule for completing the various tasks, (d) the resources committed to each part of the task, (e) the level of quality required for the task, (f) methods for making changes once a plan has been accepted, (g) the amount of money to be spent on each task and , (h) the team’s decision making process.
All team members understand how decisions are made and by whom in addition, the team does not settle for easy and obvious answers to tough problems. It struggles through the “groan zone” to reach better solutions.
Team members give accurate, timely feed-back to one another and routinely discuss problems, issues, policies, fears, concerns, disappointments and frustrations. The team does not tolerate hidden agendas, third party communication or any other form of subversive communication.
Each team member commits to helping the team meet high levels of performance by working together as a team, not as an individual. Furthermore, every team member accepts responsibility for making the team successful. When problems develop, team members determine what caused the problem and how to fix it. The purpose of identifying problems and mistakes is to improve the process, not fix the blame.
All team members know their work preferences and understand the impact their behavior has on other members of the team.
The team follows through on it’s plans for improvement.

When should Pumping The Colors be used?

A. For new teams: Recommend Pumping The Colors when a company or organization wants to begin using teams throughout the organization and wants the teams to start off with the best possible chance of being successful.

B. To set team standards: Pumping The Colors is built around Seven Practices that characterize high performing teams. In PTC,  participants learn how to use the standards to coach themselves to higher performance.

C. For team orientation: Recommend Pumping The Colors when a company wants to help its employees understand what teams must do to be successful.

D. For continuous improvement: Recommend Pumping The Colors for teams that take the continuous improvement mandate seriously.

E. For teams in trouble or ineffective teams, for example:

  1. Teams that have been trimmed by cutbacks and are having a difficult time regaining their momentum.
  2. Teams with different styles that are required to work together i.e., project teams from different departments, companies or cultures.
  3. Teams in which one or two toxic members are hurting the team.
  4. Teams that have a difficult time confronting and resolving differences.
  5. Teams that are so heavily politicized that they can’t work together effectively.
  6. Teams in which the implicit and explicit contracts that govern the team are in conflict.
  7. Teams in which the implicit contract needs to be made explicit.

How many? How much time?

1398-FThis is a very flexible program, there are half day and full day versions available. Each team usually consists of 5 to 10 persons. One facilitator can manage two or three teams. We can help with ideas or additional facilitators for larger groups.

What happens in Pumping The Colors?

Teams build a tri-color delivery system out of pipes and tubes on a eight foot protective mat. If they are successful they will be able to use their system to deliver any one of three colored solutions to any one of 12 targets. The task challenges the team to think creatively, to work interdependently, to manage scarce resources, to deal with pressure and stress.

Early in the simulation teams experience all four stages of team development: forming, storming, norming and performing. The team holds two team meetings to evaluate their team performance. They also receive instruction on how to organize teams, reduce conflict, work with different work styles, coach themselves and many other essential skills required for team development. Later in the simulation the team generally realizes that they have been performing far below their capability. They then focus on what must happen to improve their performance.

Facilitating Pumping The Colors no longer requires certification.

Pumping The Colors used to be our only simulation which required attending a certification course. We’ve replaced the two-day certification with a comprehensive Director’s Kit, which includes a new annotated video of the Train The Trainer experience. The kit includes detailed step by step instructions on setting up, running and debriefing Pumping The Colors along with marketing and support materials. As with all our programs we’re always glad to offer free personal phone support.

The new video allows the facilitator to view a complete Train The Trainer session of Pumping The Colors, evaluate its effectiveness, and become certified to deliver the program.

This is a Train The Trainer video, not a marketing video. The simulation has a much faster pace when it’s run for clients than what is shown in the video. We’ve purposely spent more time explaining the materials, the setup and the types of processes that are important for the facilitator and difficult to convey in print. These wouldn’t normally be included in a regular (non Train The Trainer) session.

We’ve broken the video into different categories and added commentary for your convenience. We highly recommend you watch the entire video at least once in order to better understand the flow and intricacies of running the program.

We feel this new platform will uphold the quality assurances while making the simulation much more accessible. Contact us to learn more or get started!

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