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:
- They don’t know what behaviors or skills are required to create an effective team.
- 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.
- 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.
How will team members benefit from Pumping The Colors?
Here are a few of the benefits teams can expect. 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 on 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 practices 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.
When should Pumping The Colors be used?
A. For new teams: Recommend PTC 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 Pumping The Colors, participants learn how to use the standards to coach themselves to higher performance.
C. For team orientation: Recommend PTC when a company wants to help its employees understand what teams must do to be successful.
D. For continuous improvement: Recommend PTC for teams that take the continuous improvement mandate seriously.
E. For teams in trouble or ineffective teams: For example:
- Teams that have been trimmed by cutbacks and are having a difficult time regaining their momentum.
- Teams with different styles that are required to work together i.e., project teams from different departments, companies or cultures.
- Teams in which one or two toxic members are hurting the team.
- Teams that have a difficult time confronting and resolving differences.
- Teams that are so heavily politicized that they can’t work together effectively.
- Teams in which the implicit and explicit contracts that govern the team are in conflict.
- Teams in which the implicit contract needs to be made explicit.
How many? How much time?
This 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? Simulation includes:
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 all have been performing far below their capability. They then focus on what must happen to improve their performance.
Facilitating Pumping The Colors Requires Certification
Pumping The Colors is our only simulation that requires certification training for facilitators. In the past we’ve offered 2 two-day public workshops in Del Mar. We will continue to offer the public workshops which are an opportunity to participate in Pumping The Colors, evaluate its effectiveness, and to become certified as a facilitator. We are also in the process of developing a Train-The-Trainer video in order to replace the public workshops andmake certification much easier. If you would prefer, we can also arrange to have a Pumping The Colors pilot brought in-house to your company.
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