The Pitfalls of One-and-Done Team Building

One-and-done Team Building

Practice makes perfect, as they say, and your corporate team is a lot like a basketball team.

In 2005, when the National Basketball Association (NBA) and its players’ union negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the league sought to impose a minimum age limit on all NBA players. Commissioner David Stern believed requiring players to be at least 20 years old would help not only improve the NBA game by allowing players to develop their skills at the college level, but would also greatly benefit the lives of the young men who would now be getting a college education. This, in turn, would also mean more talent in the college ranks. Stern’s approach would have been similar to the National Football League (NFL), which requires players to have been out of high school for three years. However, NBA players and the players’ union opposed the new age limit, but eventually agreed to an age limit of 19, and the one-and-done college basketball player was born.

As you can imagine, this approach did mean more talent in the college ranks – at least for a short time – but better talent does not always mean a better team. Without the time to gel, even the most talented teams can easily fall short. The same is true for the workforce. Great teamwork takes time and effort, which is where Team Building comes into play. And, just like college basketball, team building should not be a one-and-done venture.

Why More Team Building is More Effective

As we mentioned in our previous blog, “Research Suggests More Team Building is Best,” researcher R. Wayne Boss writes that “When team building is coupled with follow-up sessions in which team building commitments are reinforced and renewed, the positive effects of the team building are prolonged.2” Boss collected personal interview data from 208 participants (135 experimental and 71 comparison group members), and found that regular Personal Management Interviews (PMIs) can prevent the regression or fade-out which often occurs after a single team building session. You see, team building is a process and, thus, requires multiple interventions. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and your corporate team is a lot like a basketball team. In order to work at your full potential, you need to work at working together. After all, how effective would a basketball team be after only one practice?

“There is a relationship between the follow-up actions taken and perception of team building success,” writes researchers H.S. Kriek and P. Venter.3 These follow-up sessions are proven to “help to sustain high performance,4” according to William G. Dyer, W. Gibb Dyer, and Jeffrey H. Dyer, authors of Team Building: Proven Strategies for Improving Team Performance.” This is why Terrapin Adventures recommends a follow-up session every three to six months.

Corporate Team Building with Terrapin Adventures

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures specializes in custom corporate team building programs designed to meet the unique needs of organizations, like yours.  Our experienced staff is able to design a program – onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor –to help your group increase their ability to problem solve, think creatively and collaborate with one another.

Schedule Corporate Team Building Activities!

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Sheridan, Chris, Associated Press (2005-05-12).”Hunter still opposed to raising NBA age limit”. USA Today.
  2. Boss, R. W. “Team Building and the Problem of Regression: The Personal Management Interview as an Intervention.” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 19.1 (1983): 67-83. Web.
  3. Kriek, H. S., and P. Venter. “The Perceived Success of Teambuilding Interventions in South African Organisations.” Southern African Business Review 13.1 (2009).
  4. Dyer, William G., W. Gibb Dyer, and Jeffrey H. Dyer. “Team Building: Proven Strategies for Improving Team Performance.” San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007. Print.
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