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Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat – a team of experts vs. an expert team

Being an avid sports fan and living in South Florida during this NBA season has been a delightful treat but with some gut wrenching ups and downs.  Nobody will argue that Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are three of the best individual players in the NBA.  And after the preseason announcement that they would all be playing for the Heat, expectations were high.  Surely this was going to be an incredible team with these three guys all in the same city, right?  But when the season started, the Heat in reality, were pretty average and far below expectations with an 8-8 start.  The radio sports show pundits excused the team since “they just have to learn how to play together”.  So for these superstar basketball experts it’s teamwork that was the problem?

The good news is that as the season has gone along, the Heat have gotten things going pretty well.   The bad news for the Heat is the Chicago Bulls.  The Bulls have some awesome players – but not real national headline “names” at least not like our big three.  But they have done what the Heat have not, they have developed an unbeatable expert team chemistry with all their players working together.  As a matter of fact, the Heat have lost all three games against the Bulls in regular season play. Now it looks like we are going to be facing them for the Eastern Division title and the right to play the winner in the west for the NBA championship.

The ESPN blog had it right, “Everyone knows the actors in this play! The obvious question is whether or not the Bulls ‘team’ can beat the greatest collection of ‘individuals’ of our era.”   Does a team of experts beat an expert team?  The high reliability mindset would predict a bad outcome for our heroes from South Beach.  High reliability teams consider every individual a star and are lead by leaders who encourage team participation and pooling all the best capabilities of each team member which in the end adds up to consistently better results than the sum total of the individuals.

Team skills are critical to high reliability performance in the operating room, emergency room and hospital wards and certainly, the basketball court.  High reliability team work is a science and skill that can be learned and mastered and must be perfected to eliminate errors in patient care.  A few superstars can’t carry the load for an entire team and the Heat’s 0-3 record against the Bulls is proof.  In surgery a good team with a consistent record will have better outcomes that teams that don’t always play well together.

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Posted in High Reliability Mindset, High Reliability Organizations.

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