EP#95: Building and Sustaining High Performing Teams (The Dallas Mavericks) – with Donnie Nelson

In this special episode of the GovComms Podcast, contentgroup CEO David Pembroke speaks to Donnie Nelson, the General Manager of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team which competes in the NBA.

This podcast is a recording of a session from the 2020 GovComms Festival. To see even more content from the GovComms Festival, please visit the GovComms Institute website. Over the coming months, we will be uploading all of the content from the Festival to the website, so stay tuned!

In this episode of the podcast, David and Donnie discuss the secrets to bringing a team together and sustaining high performance over a period of time. Donnie explains why he thinks the secret to leadership is understanding the ‘human business’.

Donnie is one of the most successful and respected General Managers in basketball. He brought together the Mavericks team that won the NBA championship in 2011.

David and Donnie also discuss how the Dallas Mavericks have been able to bring together people from a wide array of backgrounds. They discuss how to unite a diverse group of people around a common goal.

Donnie explains that a commitment to winning an NBA championship is the first, second and third most important quality in a player. Donnie claims that too many people in basketball are ‘blinded by talent’, and that not enough focus on motivation, drive, integrity and teamwork skills.

Donnie explains how he managed to get everyone in the Dallas Mavericks organization, from the owner Mark Cuban down to the ball boys, united behind a common goal. Donnie also discusses the importance of listening, communication and patience in the development of high-performing teams.

Discussed in this episode:

  • How Donnie Nelson uses communication and listening practices to get the best out of elite athletes competing in one of the biggest sports in the world.
  • The Dallas Maverick’s victory in the 2011 NBA Championship.
  • How the Dallas Mavericks have been able to unite a team, and an organization, around a common goal, and how non-sporting teams can implement those same techniques.