NBA All-Star Game – Slams Trump Skills

I missed the NBA All-Star Game festivities during this birthday weekend, but I recorded the Saturday night Slam Dunk contest, 3-pt Shootout and Skills Challenge. We never watch the actual all-star game, but my family likes the Saturday night events. We especially like the creativity in the Dunk Contest. We’ve seen Superman, a double-dunk, a candle get blown out, and a guy dunk over a car! We have no lasting memories of 3-pt shootouts or skills challenge winners…

Why do slams trump skills?

Spectators jump out of their seats after a thunderous dunk. However, teams reap greater benefits from a made 3-pointer or an assist that leads to a score and spreads the floor for the offense. You can have raw physical gifts and dunk a basketball. Dribbling a ball through traffic, passing a ball on-target, or shooting a ball with accuracy requires skills built upon years of practice. Dunks make the ESPN highlight reels. Assists make the highlight reels – if they result in a dunk!

If you are building a team around an individual’s strengths, do you go after an extraordinary dunker or a player with the best skills?

If you get the dunker, your team might make the highlight reels every night. If you get the skilled player, your team might compete for championships!! The dunker will provide physically dominant performances that awe spectators. The skilled player will provide all-around performances that awe the competition. You need the skilled players to facilitate your dunkers!

Now, let’s look at this from a company talent acquisition perspective. When you are looking to build a team, do you go for the raw talent or the polished skills?

I may love watching massive dunks, but I’m picking the skilled player first every time. A skilled nucleus provides a “Center of Excellence” that becomes the foundation of my organization. Skilled employees broaden our horizon (“spreading the floor”) and setup the entire organization for slam dunk opportunities to succeed.

What’s your strategy…go for the dunker, or go for the skills?

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