Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, was hired by owner Mark Cuban in February to piece the company’s reputation back together after a report chronicled two decades of toxic workplace culture in the team’s front office. It marked the NBA’s biggest #MeToo-era scandal to date. Marshall, who spent more than 30 years working her way up to become head of human resources and chief diversity officer at AT&T Inc., drafted a 100-day turnaround plan before her first day on the job with the Mavs. It consisted of four parts: modeling zero tolerance, creating a playbook for women in the organization, transforming the culture and improving operational effectiveness. One tenant of her plan was to “Own the Mistakes But Move Forward,” which included bringing transparency by allowing outside investigators full access to staff and other materials, then releasing the results of their report. Marshall also arranged for counselors to help staff cope with what had happened – both the toxic culture and the public cloud surrounding it. She launched a hotline for employees to submit anonymous reports of improper office conduct. She also created new jobs and filled open ones, installing a new head of human resources and a chief ethics and compliance officer. Other tactics included reworking the office layout to make the new values clear, creating supportive communities to foster trust among employees and investing in the undervalued by assessing and correcting any pay imbalances. “We have literally transformed the NBA,” she said. “Drop the mic – but we’re not going home.”
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