Former Commander, USS Benfold and Author, It’s Your Ship
Mike Abrashoff was the officer at the Pacific Fleet when he took control of the ship. Twelve weeks later, the USS Benfold was the best ship in the entire Navy — with the exact same crew. Leadership matters the story of that transformation has lessons for every organization — and culture is everything. Mike’s written three novels — his first, It’s Your Ship, has sold over 1 million copies. His Leadership Roadmap delivers battle-tested clear, and measures. Mike shows people at each level of the business take and how to participate steps toward change that may make a difference at work. Mike is clear,”I didn’t turn the boat around — my crew did that. What I did was to create an environment where they empowered felt secure and supported. When you do that, anything is possible”
In a lot of ways, what Mike managed to do with the USS Benfold was an extreme example of the issues facing many businesses today. That’s why Mike’s story has been mentioned by dozens of publications including Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and The Wall Street Journal as an inspiring lesson for company. Leaders especially identify with Mike’s being accountable for the outcomes within an environment where the rules couldn’t be made by him.
“When my crew came to me with a issue, I would say’It is your boat — how can you fix it?’ .” Mike concentrated on the one thing he could influence: his crew’s attitude, because civilization is the competitive weapon for any organization.
In the core of his leadership approach on Benfold was a process of engaging the hearts, minds, and loyalties of employees with certainty and humility, and replacing command and control with cohesion and commitment. “The main thing that a priest can do is to observe the boat through the eyes of the crew. The idea is to enable every person to split the responsibility of achieving excellence.”
By every measure, breakthrough results were achieved by these fundamentals: percentage decreased to an unprecedented 1 percent; promotions’ speed shrunk; as well as the crew slashed on operating expenses by 25%. Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the maximum degree of combat readiness. This turnaround was accomplished with the exact same crew that had performed so badly weeks earlier.
His first has a message: do not utilize forces which stand in your way control what results that are amazing will happen and you can affect. His books, It’s Our Ship and Get Your Ship showed how these principles are put into action by industry leaders in their organizations.
A popular keynote speaker for viewers looking to ramp up organizational performance, Mike has spoken from board retreats to front line personnel; from sales groups to universities — to kind and every industry of audience to startups. He tailors the message to focus on much more and engagement, implementation, change, safety, diversity, leadership, teamwork, innovation, accountability and motivates audiences to rethink their beliefs about organizational culture and leadership.
Mike Abrashoff is the founder of Aegis Performance Group, a consulting company which works with and encourages leaders as they address leadership, performance and talent challenges within their organizations. His staff and mike prompt leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new techniques to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.
IT’S YOUR SHIP – ACHIEVING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, morale was low, turnover was high and the ship’s performance ranked near the bottom of the Pacific Fleet. Just twelve months later the Benfold was ranked #1 – using the very same crew. The lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything. This inspiring talk is for every individual and organization looking for practical and usable ways to take organizational performance to new heights. In Mike’s case, he realized that before the ship’s performance could change, he had to change his leadership style. Mike worked to create a culture of trust and empower his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of the way things were done. Top down leadership is dead, so when the crew would present a problem, Mike became famous for responding “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!” Mike’s presentation leaves audiences with the tools and inspiration to accomplish big goals.
NO LIMITS – UNLEASHING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
Sometimes in our professional lives we believe we are in a battle to beat an adversary or a competitor when in actuality, we are in competition with ourselves but just haven’t figured it out yet. When battling the competition, you want to come out on top, if only by one more sale or maybe a few percentage points. Sometimes, someone at a higher level gives you a goal based on some median expectation set for others. When Mike Abrashoff took command of a well below-average ship in the U.S. Navy, his goal was to get to average. He initially set average goals and expectations for himself and his crew until one day it struck him: his ship could be better than average. Mike’s eureka moment was realizing they weren’t in competition with anyone but themselves to be their best. They had to stop putting limits on what they believed was possible. That realization changed Mike Abrashoff’s approach to leadership and led the same crew to accomplish one of the most remarkable turnarounds that was chronicled in the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company magazine and his New York Times’ and Wall Street Journal bestselling book, IT’S YOUR SHIP. Many of Mike’s former crew members have gone on to accomplish great things in their careers. They write to tell him their stories. One of Mike’s sailors just ran for city council of one of the largest cities in the U.S. and he wrote Mike to say, “you gave us the inspiration and confidence to know that there are no limits.” This presentation will challenge you to think differently on how to set expectations while realizing the only limits that you have are self-imposed.
IT’S OUR SHIP – PUTTING THE LEADERSHIP ROADMAP TO WORK
For organizations that want to get serious about improving performance, this presentation delivers examples of the Mike’s Leadership Roadmap in action. Mike reveals how the principles that led the transformation of the USS Benfold have been put into action at companies and organizations looking to harness the power of their most important asset – their people. He shows real leaders achieving dramatic results as they work to address their most pressing people challenges: collaboration, commitment, cohesion, accountability, engagement, rapid and continual innovation, safety and diversity in the workforce. In example after example, the lessons from the Benfold clearly translate across all kinds of organizations – corporations, small business, non-profits and government. Mike shows audiences, by example, how to use their new leadership toolkit. “It’s Our Ship” goes deep into the how-tos of creating a culture where everyone takes ownership and responsibility for taking performance to the next level.
GO DEEPER WITH HALF- AND FULL-DAY PROGRAMS
Dive deep into the Leadership Roadmap with a half or full-day program. The 2-hour Take Action session most often used as a follow-on to Mike’s keynote to create a half-day program that provides attendees with powerful tools and strategies to apply in their work environment. Typically facilitated by a senior strategist from Mike’s firm, Aegis Performance Group, Take Action sessions create an exciting interactive atmosphere that examines the key components of high performing leaders, teams and organizations. Full-day sessions with Aegis senior strategists provide an even deeper dive into the practical application of the Leadership Roadmap for the participants and their organizations. Inquire for more details and program descriptions.
“We got fantastic feedback from everyone. I really appreciate the genuine sincerity you exude. Especially when you jumped into the mindsets of our people, suggesting for us to all stand and clap for Jeff Kish. That was a WOW moment that just highlighted how much of a good guy you are to so many people. Your real-time leadership shined through at that very moment. It’s one of the reasons you have been so successful in helping others throughout your life. It must give you a good feeling knowing that you can continue helping others to help themselves since you left the Benfold. And, I’m sure you had those personal attributes long before you assumed command of that ship.”
– -Chief Operating Officer, Bartlett Tree Experts
- VIDEO Mike Abrashoff: Becoming The Best Ship in the U.S. Navy
- VIDEO Mike Abrashoff: It’s Your Ship
- VIDEO Mike Abrashoff – Focusing on What’s Important
- VIDEO Mike Abrashoff – Staying Safe in Tough Times
- VIDEO Top Leadership Speaker MIKE ABRASHOFF: Don’t Impose Limits on Yourself
- VIDEO Learning Leadership Skills: MIKE ABRASHOFF – Pentagon Training
- VIDEO Small Business Leadership: MIKE ABRASHOFF – Applying It’s Your Ship id
- PHOTO Mike Abrashoff Promo Photo
- PHOTO Mike Abrashoff Action Shot
- JACKET It’s Your Ship Book Cover
- JACKET Get Your Ship Together Book Cover
- JACKET It’s Our Ship Book Cover
- DOC Mike Abrashoff Bio – Bureau Friendly
- DOC Mike Abrashoff Introduction – Bureau Friendly
- DOC Mike Abrashoff Sampling of Past Speaking Clients by Category – Bureau Friendly
- DOC Mike Abrashoff Testimonials by Category – Bureau Friendly