Management Tips from the Navy!!!
When Michael Abrashoff took over as the new commander of the USS Benfold he found a ship suffering. Suffering from lack of leadership. Suffering from lack of vision. Suffering from micromanagement. After the former commander left the ship Captain Abrashoff set out to find out why the man received such a negative send-off. After some pretty intense research he found some things which amazed him.
In his book, It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from The Best Damn Ship in the Navy he says:
"I read some exit surveys, interviews conducted by the military to find out why people are leaving. I assumed that low pay would the first reason, but in fact it was fifth. The top reason was not being treated with respect or dignity; second was being prevented from making an impact on the organization; third, not being listened to; fourth, not being rewarded with more responsibility."
"Further research disclosed an unexpected parallel with civilian life. According to a recent survey, low pay was also number five on the list of reasons private employees jump from one company to another. And the top four reasons are virtually the same as in the military. The inescapable conclusion is that, as leaders, we are all doing the same wrong things."
"The key to being a successful skipper is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. Only then can you find out what's really wrong and, in so doing, help the sailors empower themselves to fix it."
"A simple principle, yes, but one the Navy applauds in theory and rejects in practice. Officers are told to delegate authority and empower subordinates, but in reality they are expected never to utter the words, "I don't know."
Others have found Abrashoff's brand of leadership equally profound. Read the interview at Fast Company. Here's a small excerpt: "Behind Abrashoff's relaxed confidence is his own brand of organizational zeal. Settling into his stateroom, Abrashoff, 38, props his feet on a coffee table, sips a soda, and says, "I divide the world into believers and infidels. What the infidels don't understand -- and they far outnumber the believers -- is that innovative practices combined with true empowerment produce phenomenal results."
His book, It's Your Ship contains the whole story. Great. Read.