Turn the Ship Around!: The True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules

Overview

“Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers.”
 
David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where there is no margin for error, it was crucial his men did their job...

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Overview

“Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers.”
 
David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where there is no margin for error, it was crucial his men did their job and did it well. But the ship was dogged by poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention in the fleet.
 
Marquet acted like any other captain until, one day, he unknowingly gave an impossible order, and his crew tried to follow it anyway. When he asked why the order wasn’t challenged, the answer was “Because you told me to.” Marquet realized he was leading in a culture of followers, and they were all in danger unless they fundamentally changed the way they did things.
 
That’s when Marquet took matters into his own hands and pushed for leadership at every level. Turn the Ship Around! is the true story of how the Santa Fe skyrocketed from worst to first in the fleet by challenging the U.S. Navy’s traditional leader-follower approach. Struggling against his own instincts to take control, he instead achieved the vastly more powerful model of giving control.
 
Before long, each member of Marquet’s crew became a leader and assumed responsibility for everything he did, from clerical tasks to crucial combat decisions. The crew became fully engaged, contributing their full intellectual capacity every day, and the Santa Fe started winning awards and promoting a highly disproportionate number of officers to submarine command.
 
No matter your business or position, you can apply Marquet’s radical guidelines to turn your own ship around. The payoff: a workplace where everyone around you is taking responsibility for their actions, where people are healthier and happier, where everyone is a leader.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
'I don't know of a finer model of this kind of empowering leadership than Captain Marquet. And in the pages that follow you will find a model for your pathway.'
Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

'To say I'm a fan of David Marquet would be an understatement.... I'm a fully fledged groupie. He is the kind of leader who comes around only once a generation. He is the kind of leader who doesn't just know how to lead, he knows how to build leaders. His ideas and lessons are invaluable to anyone who wants to build an organization that will outlive them.'
— Simon Sinek, optimist and author of Start with Why

'How do we release the intellect and initiative of each member of the organization toward a common purpose? Here's the answer: With fascinating storytelling and a deep understanding of what motivates and inspires. David Marquet provides leaders in the military, business, and education a powerful vehicle that will delight, provoke, and encourage them to act.'
— Michael P. Peters, president of the St. John's College, Santa Fe

'I owe a lot to Captain David Marquet ... not only for turning the Santa Fe around during some REALLY bad times but I learned many lessons on leadership from him that have been invaluable in my post-Navy life.  I preach the three legs (control, competence, clarity) of Leader-Leader everyday to empower my people and move the decisions to where the information lives.... I used these principles to turn around the GE Dallas Generator Repair Department, which was in crisis when I arrived in 2010 and now is the best Generator Repair Department in the GE Network.... Now I am tasked with turning around the Dallas Steam Turbine Repair Department....'
— Adam McAnally, Steam Turbine Cell Leader at the GE Dallas Service Center and former crewmember, USS Santa Fe

'This terrific read actually provides new and valuable insights into how to lead. And nothing important gets done without leadership. Captain Marquet takes you through his life of learning how to lead, and presents you with a winning formula: not leader-follower, but leader-leader. It's about leading by getting others to take responsibility—and like it. It works for business, politics, and life.'
— Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of several business boards, and a former columnist for The New York Times

'It's the Hunt for Red October meets Harvard Business School.Turn the Ship Around! is the consummate book on leadership for the Information Age—where unleashing knowledge workers' intellectual capital is pivotal in optimizing organizational performance: from maximizing market share and minimizing customer churn to improving margins. Capt. Marquet's thesis is a complete paradigm shift in leadership philosophy. This new approach to leadership is applicable in all industries and across all corporate functions. If you're an Organizational Behavior or Leadership expert or enthusiast this book can have a substantial impact on you and your organization s ability to meet its goals.'
— Joe DeBono, Founder and President of MBA Corps and Merrill Lynch Wealth Manager

'David Marquet's message in Turn the Ship Around! inspires the empowerment of engaged people and leadership at all levels. He encourages leaders to release energy, intellect, and passion in everyone around them. Turn the Ship Around! challenges the paradigm of the hierarchical organization by revealing the process to tear down pyramids, create a flat organization, and to develop leaders, not followers.'
— Dale R. Wilson, Sr., business management professional, and editor/blogger at Command Performance Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

"This is the story of Captain David Marquet's unprecedented experiment in the most rigid of environments on the Santa Fe, a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine. He had the courage to operate counter-culture, reengineering the very definition of leadership accepted by the U.S. Navy for as long as it has existed. He took huge risk to do this. The outcome was revolutionary - within a few short months, the crew of the Santa Fe went from worst to first. In today's information age, Human Capital is our most precious resource. It is the 21stCentury weapon of choice. Captain David Marquet's experiment in leadership has far greater application to the entire business world. This is thought leadership."
— Charlie Kim, Founder & CEO of Next Jump, Inc.

"Leaders and managers face an increasingly complex world, where precise execution, teamwork and enabling of talent are competitive advantages. David Marquet provides a blue print, along with real-life examples and implementation mechanisms. Anyone who is charged with leading and making a difference needs to read this."
— John Cooper, President and CEO, Invesco Distributors

"David Marquet's book discusses 'successful motivation' that provided his people the energy to overcome difficult obstacles. The values that he imbued in his folks provided a 'burst of energy' that positively energized them by satisfying their needs for achievement, providing appropriate recognition, providing a sense of belonging, developing self-esteem, permitting a feeling of control, and permitting an ability to live up to appropriate standards. This type of leadership energizes the work force and allows senior management to 'paint the future and light a path that takes the entire team to it.' This is a must read for all who desire good moral influence on the work force!"
— Vice Admiral Al Konetzni, (USN, ret.) Former Pacific Fleet submarine commander.

"The legacy of a Commanding Officer, or the leader of any organization, is how well the organization performs after he/she departs and the subsequent motivation, success and institutional contribution of those next generation leaders trained and developed. Read Turn the Ship Around! and you will learn how to build an enduring high performer, where people can't wait to get to work."
— Admiral Thomas B. Fargo (USN, ret.) Former Commander U.S. Pacific Command Chairman, Huntington Ingalls Industries

"What I learned from and with David Marquet is that developing a bottom-up, Leader-Leader culture produces highly empowered people and highly effective teams. It worked on a nuclear submarine and it worked in the mountains of Afghanistan. That said, cultivating a Leader-Leader culture is much easier said than done because you must overturn almost everything people grow up thinking and learning about leadership."
— Captain (sel) Dave Adams, USN, Former Weapons Officer, USS Santa Fe, Khost Province PRT commander, Commanding Officer, USS Santa Fe

'Captain Marquet's compelling leadership journey inspires each of us to imagine a world where every human being is intellectually engaged and fully committed to solving our toughest challenges. If it can be done on a nuclear submarine, it can be done everywhere. Turn the Ship Around! delivers a brilliant message.'
— Liz Wiseman, Author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469027463
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Sales rank: 819,447

Meet the Author

A top graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, L. David Marquet commanded the nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe from 1999 to 2001. Santa Fe earned numerous awards for being the most improved ship in the Pacific and the most combat-effective ship in the squadron. Since leaving the Navy he has worked with businesses nationwide as a leadership consultant. David also teaches graduate level leadership at Columbia University. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and lives in Florida with his wife, Jane. 

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