Book Cover

In week 14 of our re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  we begin Part IV of Turn The Ship Around and tackle chapter 21. The first three parts of the book bring the story to the beginning of deployment of the Santa Fe, Part iV picks up from there.

Part I – Starting Over – This section profile why Marquet is frustrated with leader-follower model of leadership.

Part II – Control – This section profiles the change and command and begins to layout Marquet’s vision of a leader – leader model of leadership. This section delivers mechanisms for control in a leader – leader model.

Part III – Competence – This section builds on the story of how the Santa Fe prepares for deployment and Marquet lays out mechanisms for building technical competence, the second leg of his leader-leader model.

Part IV – Clarity – This section completes the leader – leader model, focusing on the third leg of the leader – leader model, clarity.

Clarity means that people at all levels of the organization understand the nuances of what the organization is about. I have recently changed job and have gone through a few weeks of difficult product training. At first, I bridled at not diving into the day-to-day activities of my coaching. Re-reading this section is a reminder that developing an understanding of the organization’s values by translating them into behaviors and product will pay huge dividends in the long run by pushing decision making down the chain of command.

Chapter 21: Under Way for Deployment

The opening question in this chapter is, “How can you take care of your people?”

The story thread that Marquet uses in Chapter 21 is, the Santa Fe was beginning the transit from Pearl Harbor to a number of other ports two weeks ahead of schedule. The goal of the captain is to perform the boat’s mission and get everyone home safe. One of the indications of the improved morale is the suggestion at the beginning of the deployment by a lieutenant commander. The suggestion is that  leadership on the boat should encourage the crew members to have your own personal improvement goals to pursue (read books, learn something, exercise and the like) so they return emotionally richer than when they started. Marquet included the goal in his message to his superiors as they headed west giving it equal billing with the goals for improving their performance during the deployment while improving empowerment, efficiency, and tactical excellence.

Mechanism: Build trust and take care of your people.

The story of the beginning of the deployment continues with the deployment with disappointing receipt of promotion results. The Santa Fe crew had not done well. Instead of letting each person decide on a course of action Marquet and his leaders reviewed all of the results and found the problem was mostly the exam (promotion results reflect multiple other factors such as the number of years in position). By looking at the big picture, Marquet and the other leaders were able to focus on getting the crew more practice. The approach collected questions from every department to contribute multiple choice questions to and they made the questions harder so that crew would have to gain more in-depth knowledge making them even more prepared. The process of preparing for the exam became part of the daily operation of the boat rather than an add-on, an extra bit of work. This form of change management translates a statement of an organizational value into organic behaviors which is much more powerful!

Later in the chapter, Marquet exhibited another mechanism to support his crew by addressing specific leave needs while drawing empowered workforce (crew) to provide the basis for being able to rotate senior off boat to address family needs.

Remember to buy a copy of the book and re-along: Turn the Ship Around! (buy a copy and read along!)

Previous Installments

Week 13: Final Preparations –

Week 12: Underway for San Diego and All Present and Accounted For

Week 11: Mistakes Just Happen and We Learn

Week 10: A New Ship and We Have A Problem

Week 9: Up Scope! and ”A New Ship”

Week 8: Under Way on Nuclear Power and ”I Intend To . . .” –

Week 7: Change, In a Word and Welcome Aboard Sante Fe

Week 6: I Relieve You

Week 5: Call to Action and Whatever they tell me to do!

Week 4: Change of Course and Frustration

Week 3: Pain and Business as Usual

Week 2: Forward and Introduction

Week 1: Game Plan