Main menu


Team culture is more important than raw talent

featured image

Billionaire Mark Cuban says he’s noticed one factor that always leads to success in the boardroom or on the basketball court. It’s a team culture.

On this week’s episode of the “Re:Thinking with Adam Grant” podcast, the “Shark Tank” investor and Dallas Mavericks owner talks more about creating collaborative environments than collecting raw talent. said to be important. He fired business partners and replaced basketball players because of their personalities, especially when the team had multiple members who were self-centered or belligerent.

“Culture and chemistry are essential to success,” Cuban said. “The team says he can have one knucklehead, but he can’t have two. One knucklehead adapts and the two hang out together.”

Cuban said he knows the organization is in trouble when employees start moving to competitors. He likes to stay ahead of this trend by firing leaders who refuse to contribute to team culture before dismissing employees.

“Sometimes you have to turn everything upside down and get rid of the people who are part of the toxic side of it,” Cuban said.

When hiring, Cuban is specifically looking for people who can help make the workplace a better experience for others. In one instance, he hired a CEO who didn’t have as much experience as other candidates, but excelled at “supporting employees and training and enhancing employees.”

“[They] The business experience might not have been what I was looking for otherwise,” Cuban said.[But they] was putting [employees] in a position to succeed [better] than anyone I’ve seen. ”

In basketball, Cuban did not necessarily screen new players for narcissism, but swapped players to stimulate motivation within the team. It seems to be in line with experts who argue that numbers can affect its success.

In a 2019 study, researchers at the University of Buffalo School of Management analyzed nearly 35,000 tweets and profile pictures from 400 NBA player profiles for levels of narcissism and then mapped the results to the 2013-2014 NBA regular season. Compare with season results. As a result, cooperativeness and performance declined, and teams with the highest levels of narcissism did not improve more than those with lower levels of narcissism.

Cuban said he noticed the same pattern in coaching. Last year, the Mavericks bounced back from the NBA playoffs in the opening round — his 10th straight year in the franchise to do so or miss the playoffs entirely. After hiring Jason Kidd as the Mavericks’ head coach during the offseason, the team forged a path to the Western Conference Semifinals in May.

“It was pretty much the same team as the year before, but Jason Kidd came in and set expectations and communicated better,” Cuban said. “And that helped develop our chemistry because everyone knew what was expected of them. They knew their roles. I knew how to fit in.

Sign up now: Get smart about money and your career with our weekly newsletter

Do not miss it:

Mark Cuban says TikTok is “the future of sports media”. Here’s why.

10 companies with the best work cultures, including pay, benefits and work-life balance