Book Giveaways

Turn Your Ship Around! by L. David Marquet

January 27, 2015


A new workbook from L. David Marquet walks you through some tricky leadership questions to show you how to lead more intentionally.

Imagine you have just been promoted, and given responsibility for turning around an organization that has been "dogged by poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention" in your field. You are responsible for more than one hundred people, and you have to live amongst them, in close quarters, everyday. And not only do you have to live in close personal proximity to these people, you all live in extremely close proximity to a nuclear reactor and ballistic missiles, underwater. This was the task given to Captain L. David Marquet when he took command of the USS Sante Fe.

David Marquet's Turn the Ship Around! isn't quite a cult classic, but it is certainly an under-appreciated one. It tells the story of a his bold and transformative tenure as Captain of the USS Sante Fe, under which the ship went from "worst to first" in the fleet. And all it took was one simple idea: giving up control.

The idea was that by giving control to people, the become leaders.

It worked.

... [T]he people aboard the Sante Fe were selected at significantly disproportionate rates to higher leadership positions, including ten subsequent nuclear-submarine captains and six "major" commanders"—the command position above submarine captain, such as a submarine squadron commander.

The basic assumption is this: excellence is achieved when everyone is thinking. It is a framework that applies to all types or organizations—from submarines operating from the depths of the ocean to major corporations in city skyscrapers, and everywhere in between.

Rather than control-based leadership, Marquet shifted the paradigm on the ship to intent-based leadership. Instead of getting the most out of people through command and compliance, intent-based leadership is about letting the most out of people, letting them think, create, and contribute their full potential—potential that would be untapped were they simply told what to do.

And now, in addition to being able to have the retired Captain Marquet talk you through his own fascinating leadership journey, you can have him walk you through your own.

Portfolio released a companion workbook to Turn the Ship Around! today called Turn Your Ship Around! that will help you work through instilling a similar leadership ethos in your organization. It is designed to be used in conjunction with Marquet's previous book, but reading through it myself I've found that the questions asked and reflections seeded are enough to start you on the journey to a more intent-based leadership without the previous text. He asks the kind of simple, yet profound questions that will return to you in the still moments before you fall asleep, when answers come to you unbidden. But we all know that nighttime thoughts don't always survive the harsh light of day, so the questions are also extremely practical, designed to be put into practice.

If the traditional leader-follower model of leadership can be upended in the military, on a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine no less, then it can implemented in any organization. Most importantly for you and the health of your organization (financial and otherwise), it can be implemented in your organization. Why not get started?

We have 25 copies available.

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