Mike Abrashoff is the focus of one of the most remarkable modern day stories of organizational transformation. At the age of 36, the Navy selected Mike to become Commander of USS Benfold. At the time he was the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet – on a ship that was plagued by low morale, high turnover and abysmal performance evaluations. Few thought that the ship could improve – yet 12 months later the ship was ranked #1 in performance – using the same crew. People were amazed and the lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything. In many ways, the USS Benfold was actually an extreme example of the same problems facing organizations today. Many publications including The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company have cited Mike’s story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders identify with Mike’s situation; being accountable for results in an environment where he couldn’t make the rules.
Mike is clear, “I didn’t turn the ship around – my crew did that. What I did was to reinvent my leadership style & create an environment where they felt safe, empowered and supported. When they came to me with a problem, I’d say ‘It’s your ship – how would you fix it?’.” Mike focused on the 1 thing he could influence -- his crew’s attitude -- as culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization. Mike’s solution was to establish a set of management principles called The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his Benfold leadership approach was a process of replacing command & control with commitment and cohesion, & engaging the hearts, minds, & loyalties of workers with conviction & humility.
By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results. Turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%. The rate of promotions tripled, & the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for the highest degree of combat readiness. Mike is author of three books. "It’s Your Ship" has sold over one million copies. Its message is timeless: don’t use outside forces that stand in your way as excuses – control the things you can influence and amazing results will happen. He's also author of "Get Your Ship Together" and "It’s Our Ship."
A popular keynote speaker on organizational performance, Mike has spoken to every industry and kind of audience – board retreats, front line personnel, sales groups, universities, Fortune 500s, and startups. He inspires audiences to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture and tailors the message to focus on engagement, execution, change, safety, diversity, leadership, teamwork, innovation, accountability and more. Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Mike served as the Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait; and served as the Executive Officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf. Mike Abrashoff is the founder of a consulting firm which works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and performance challenges.
- It's Your Ship - Achieving Breakthrough Performance
- It's Our Ship - Putting The Leadership Roadmap To Work
- No Limits: What You Believe is What You Achieve
- Go Deeper with Half- And Full-Day Programs
Accountability, Business, Change, Corporate Culture, Diversity, Employee Retention, Empowerment, Executive Development, Hiring, Human resource, Leadership, Management, Media, Military, Performance, Te
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“Mike Abrashoff’s address to our group in Denver was spot-on. It was quite evident that he had worked to include information regarding our company, our markets and in particular, our Project Managers Forum objectives and attendee backgrounds into the content of his presentation. Several people commented to me that they found his story inspiring and relevant. As I mentioned earlier, this was the third time I heard Mike tell his story. It seems that each time I pull something more from the information he shares.” Facilities Manager - URS
“You gave a memorable and enjoyable keynote speech that was enjoyed by all. Thank you for making our owners understand that they are the captains of their own destiny and that they need to take all action needed to succeed. You did a great job setting the tone for the rest of the convention.” CEO - Wireless Zone
“We have never had such positive feedback so you very much exceeded our expectations. You were quoted numerous times throughout the remainder of the conference which says people took your message to heart and will put it to work in their everyday jobs – exactly what we aimed for!” Dir of Staffing - Employee Relations & Development, Denbury Resources
“The ‘day after’ is over and the impact is reverberating throughout the organization. I truly appreciate the effort you obviously made to incorporate our issues and to position the call to action for them as leaders of teams. The feedback was clear — your presentation ranked #1 for most valuable . . . count me a fan.”
Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs - North America, Nokia Siemens Networks