Does Winning Breed Good Team Chemistry?

For the March issue of Today’s Machining World I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Steven Julius, the official psychologist for the Chicago Bulls. I asked him the classic question, does good team chemistry breed winning, or does winning breed good chemistry?

According to him, there are short-term positives from winning that can overcome problems with chemistry, but over the long-term, there’s a reciprocal relationship between the two. It’s the great managers and coaches in business and sports who are able to motivate employees or team members to sacrifice their individual needs for the good of the team.

He said that on really high performance teams, every individual on that team holds himself accountable, not because they’re afraid they’ll be in trouble for failing but because they don’t want to let their teammates down.

I’m a huge Chicago Bulls fan, and I must say that I’m pretty psyched for this year’s team. Not only do they have one of the best records in the Eastern Conference, and a star point guard in Derrick Rose, this team gives me and millions of other basketball fans a warm fuzzy feeling when we watch them. The players play well together on the court, the stars jump off the bench to cheer when one of the reserves makes a great play, the players even go out together when they aren’t playing. Many Bulls coaches say they have never seen a group of players root for each other more and set aside egos and jealousy for the good of the team like this team does.

As unified and talented as this year’s Bulls team is, I have to wonder if they have what it takes to defeat a team like the Miami Heat, a team comprised of three elite yet individualistic stars, notorious for their enormous egos, Lebron James, Duane Wade, and to a lesser extent Chris Bosh.

Question: If you were starting a business, would rather have a team that got an “A” in chemistry and a “B” in talent, or a “B” in chemistry and an “A” in talent?

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2 thoughts on “Does Winning Breed Good Team Chemistry?

  1. AvatarBen Guthrie

    If “chemistry” is synonymous for holding myself accountable to support my teammates, that’s what I want. A diverse group of people who share that trait can accomplish a lot.

  2. AvatarDave Bradley

    We have a team that is stumbling terribly at the moment. Your story has a lot to say about chemistry that made me ponder. It seems that most of our team members tend to believe their chemistry is supurb and in the same breath have a total dis-reguard for accountability. One manager said the organization didn’t need good soldiers. It needed warriors that were willing to fight to accomplish whatever. Sooooo, we have all these warriors that are fighting………with each other. There is no winning or good chemistry; just breeding of contempt.


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