Virtual Event Focuses on Leading During a Crisis

April 9, 2020 by Kate Michael
Mark Cuban speaking at an event in Phoenix, Arizona.(Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Billionaire Investor Mark Cuban headlined a virtual discussion hosted by Axios Friday afternoon focused on leading in a crisis, sharing his thoughts on specifically how to lead and work together for social good in the midst of a global pandemic. 

“When you deal with imperfect information, you make imperfect decisions,” said the businessman perhaps best known as owner of the Dallas Mavericks, adding that he would “err on the side of safety every single time.” 

Cuban then pointed to 3M as an example of imperfect decision making.

3M is under fire by many, including the head of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz, who has publicly accused the U.S. mask manufacturer of shipping critical protective equipment to foreign countries who outbid U.S. buyers despite our nation’s own shortage on the frontlines of the pandemic. Moskowitz claims that 3M distribution centers have been quietly prioritizing foreign buyers who offer cash, which pushes down U.S. orders. 

“The president invoked the War Powers Act on them for a very good reason,” he said. “Maybe they can’t solve the [PP&E shortage], but you can’t just ghost the American people. You have to be forthright as a leader. You have to be transparent; you have to be honest; you have to communicate. I think 3M was arrogant.”

On the reverse side, Bank of America and the Las Vegas Sands Casino, were among those companies Cuban called out specifically for their leadership and “stepping up” in this health crisis and time of economic uncertainty. 

Bank of America, though it has had to reduce branch hours at its 4,300 locations, has announced that workers will still be paid for their regular, full schedule and plans to give all branch workers a $200 bonus every two weeks. The Las Vegas Sands has also committed to paying and supporting employees until the pandemic ends. 

For his part, Cuban has guaranteed to pay healthcare and wages for his employees for “as long as [he] needs to.” 

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” he said, “but there are a lot of people who have to worry about every dollar. It seemed like the right thing to do… so I’ll continue to pay [employees] as if it’s business as usual

“Effectively, for all businesses, this is a complete reset. [For the NBA], we get a chance to experiment, and that’s what every business should do.” 

Having once vocally considered throwing his hat into the ring for the presidential nomination, the investor has, for now, decided to stick to fostering prospective business ventures that may arise out of current conditions. 

“There will be companies created during the pandemic of 2020 specifically because we had this reset and because it’s a unique opportunity. I’m looking for those right now,” Cuban said.

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