NBA team owner Mark Cuban, best known for his swagger and combativeness both court side and on TV’s Shark Tank, was in an uncharacteristically vulnerable position early last year. A Sports Illustrated story in February had uncovered a “corrosive” work environment under former CEO Terdema Ussery, including multiple examples of sexual harassment and cover-ups of the behavior. A follow-up report commissioned by the team resulted in a blistering 43-page report about chronic abuses at the company, some of them fostered by Cuban himself.
Given the need for urgent changes, the team recruited Cynthia (“Cynt”) Marshall, the recently retired head of human resources for AT&T, to become the team’s new CEO. Bloomberg Businessweek reports on how she’s remaking the corporate culture:
Before her first day on the job, Marshall drafted a 100-day turnaround plan. It consisted of four parts: modeling zero tolerance, creating a playbook for women in the organization, transforming the culture, and improving operational effectiveness, to be tackled in that order. After starting she arranged for counselors to help the staff cope with what had happened—both the toxic culture and the public cloud surrounding it. She started a hot line for employees to submit anonymous reports of improper office conduct. … And she created new jobs and filled open ones, bringing in a new head of human resources and a chief ethics and compliance officer.
As part of her plan, the team assembled the Dallas Mavericks Advisory Council, known as D-Mac, a brain trust of 26 local leaders, to give feedback and advice to team management.
Are Marshall’s efforts paying off? “All I can tell you,” Cuban told Bloomberg Businessweek in an email, is “Cynthia has done an amazing job.”