“Skills are cheap; chemistry is expensive.”
– Mal Pancoast
Teams that win don’t always have the most talented players. They always have great chemistry.
In the 1980 medal round game, the smaller, less experienced, less talented hockey USA hockey team upset the stronger, more talented Russian squad. The Americans were shorter on talent but had better chemistry. The American coach, Herb Brooks, had spent months selecting not the best collegiate players, but the team that work would best together. The excellent movie Miracle walks viewers through Brooks’ player selection process.
After years of dominating Olympic basketball, on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2004, during 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. U.S. basketball team lost 92-73.
To Puerto Rico.
The 2004 Olympic team went on to lose three games, more losses in a single year than the US Olympic teams had suffered in all previous Olympiads combined. The Americans were so used to dominating because of overwhelming talent, they forgot about the importance of chemistry. Piecing together NBA All-Stars at the last minute resulted in an excess of talent and a shortage of chemistry.
“I’m humiliated, not for the loss — I can always deal with wins and losses — but I’m disappointed because I had a job to do as a coach, to get us to understand how we’re supposed to play as a team and act as a team, and I don’t think we did that,” Larry Brown said.
When hiring employees or assembling a team, talent is important. But if you have chemistry, you’re set.