The first African-American woman to lead an NBA team (the Dallas Mavericks), Cynthia Marshall was hired by owner Mark Cuban last year to transform the team after Sports Illustrated exposed a “corrosive workplace culture.”
Within weeks, Marshall and her team implemented a 100-day plan to turn the team’s leadership around, and create a non-hostile work environment. This included:
- creating a values-based employment system,
- bringing transparency to the workplace by granting an outside counsel full access to the team’s business operations,
- promoting from within and recruiting externally to build a diverse executive leadership team,
- setting up a 24/7 hotline for employees to report concerns, and
- establishing an external advisory council of local Dallas business leaders and implementing ongoing ethics, compliance, and unconscious bias training sessions.
Marshall says she, “Had to send a message that we were serious about what was going on there. That we would model zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior and for false allegations as well.” My hat is off to you, Cynthia Marshall. Your ability to walk into a man’s world and make significant changes is inspiring.
WHAT CAN I DO? Ask yourself, “Does my organization have a corrosive workplace culture?” If the answer is yes, print out this blog and bring it to your CEO, and initiate a candid conversation about your culture. Toxic cultures breed disengagement, lower customer satisfaction, turnover, lower productivity, theft, safety issues, absenteeism, and quality issues. In addition, bottom line revenue growth may take a hit, as there is a correlation between employee engagement and profitable revenue growth. A savvy leader will get it and agree to partner with you on your own 100-day plan. Will this take confidence and courage on your part? Absolutely, but you have everything inside of you that you need to succeed. Everything. You have the power – you always did.