Cover image for It's your ship : management techniques from the best damn ship in the navy
It's your ship : management techniques from the best damn ship in the navy
Abrashoff, D. Michael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Warner Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
212 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
VB203 .A64 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The legendary tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today's uncertain business seas.


When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold , it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity. Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within months, he created a crew of confident and inspired problem-solvers eager to take the initiative and responsibility for their actions. The slogan on board became "It's your ship," and Benfold was soon recognized far and wide as a model of naval efficiency. How did Abrashoff do it? Against the backdrop of today's United States Navy, Abrashoff shares his secrets of successful management including:
See the ship through the eyes of the crew: By soliciting a sailor's suggestions, Abrashoff drastically reduced tedious chores that provided little additional value. Communicate, communicate, communicate: The more Abrashoff communicated the plan, the better the crew's performance. His crew eventually started calling him "Megaphone Mike," since they heard from him so often. Create discipline by focusing on purpose: Discipline skyrocketed when Abrashoff's crew believed that what they were doing was important. Listen aggressively: After learning that many sailors wanted to use the GI Bill, Abrashoff brought a test official aboard the ship-and held the SATs forty miles off the Iraqi coast. From achieving amazing cost savings to winning the highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet, Captain Abrashoff's extraordinary campaign sent shock waves through the U.S. Navy. It can help you change the course of your ship, no matter where your business battles are fought.

Author Notes

Captain D. Michael Abrashoff is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and was a military assistant to the former secretary of defense, the Honorable Dr. William J. Perry. Abrashoff left the Navy in 2001 and became the founder and CEO of Grassroots Leadership, Inc., in Boston

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Abrashoff, a former U.S. Navy captain and cofounder of leadership consulting firm GLS Worldwide, updates his 2002 work on top-down change and how progressive management principles can be applied in the military. In July 1997, Abrashoff assumed command of the USS Benfold, a position he maintained for two years. He soon realized the relatively low level of crew morale and productivity would fundamentally challenge him to improve his own leadership style. Abrashoff reveals how he tirelessly worked to get to know each crew member, learned how to keep himself and the sailors in ethical check by asking how their decisions would play out if revealed in public, how to listen and communicate purpose and meaning aggressively at all times, and how to encourage his crew to take risks and find better ways of doing things. The updated version includes a chapter on his experience working for U.S. Defense Secretary William James Perry and additional leadership principles learned since leaving the navy. VERDICT Abrashoff's solid, steady-paced reading nicely complements this down-to-earth analysis of how cutting-edge leadership principles can actually succeed in a classic, command-and-control type of organization like the military. Recommended for all libraries.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 Take Commandp. 11
Chapter 2 Lead by Examplep. 32
Chapter 3 Listen Aggressivelyp. 43
Chapter 4 Communicate Purpose and Meaningp. 52
Chapter 5 Create a Climate of Trustp. 63
Chapter 6 Look for Results, Not Salutesp. 82
Chapter 7 Take Calculated Risksp. 104
Chapter 8 Go Beyond Standard Procedurep. 118
Chapter 9 Build Up Your Peoplep. 140
Chapter 10 Generate Unityp. 168
Chapter 11 Improve Your People's Quality of Lifep. 186
Chapter 12 Life after Benfoldp. 199
Epilogue: Beyond Benfoldp. 208
Acknowledgmentsp. 211