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Turn the Ship Around

Today we complete our re-read of Turn the Ship Around! with a few final thoughts.  Next week we will begin The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along).

As I have noted before, I was introduced originally to David Marquet’s remarkable book by Bill Fox (Bill’s website is Container 13) who suggested that I read the book and interview Captain Marquet for the Software Process and Measurement Cast. I did both.  If I remember correctly I read the book in over a weekend traveling between DC and Cleveland. The interview followed (SPaMCAST 202).  Over the years I have read the book’s workbook, a set of flashcards and generated numerous bookmarks for the Leadership Nudge (video).  This is the long around saying that I have been heavily influenced by Marquet’s work; an influence that is still growing.    (more…)

Book Cover

Turn the Ship Around

We will complete our re-read of Turn The Ship Around next week with a few final thoughts.  The next book in the series will be The Checklist Manifesto  (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along) by  Atul Gawande. Today we complete re-reading the chapters in  L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  Chapter 28, 29 and Afterthoughts complete Marquet’s reflection on the leader-leader model and his journey of discovery.

Chapter 28: A New Method of Resupplying

The setup question for this chapter is, “Do you want to empower employees but find that empowerment programs don’t help?”

The story Marquet uses to drive the ideas in the chapter home centers around the Santa Fe’s need for oil to be resupplied due to a leak. If the Sante Fe is not resupplied the boat will not be able to keep its perfect record of meeting all mission goals.  The supply ship Rainier is also transiting the Straits of Hormuz (another one of those busy scary places). Using the normal channels getting supplies from the Rainier would have taken too long. Personnel on both vessels found a way to get the Santa Fe the oil, trade mail and also some fresh fruit.   (more…)

Book Cover

Turn the Ship Around


I forecast, barring any huge incidents, that we will complete our re-read of Turn The Ship Around on 22 July, 2018.  The next book in the series will be The Checklist Manifesto  (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along) by  Atul Gawande. Today we tackle two more chapters in L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  


Chapter 26: Combat Effectiveness

The question that opens this chapter is “Are you looking for resilience in your organization?” (more…)

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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 (more…)

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This week we tackle chapters 18 and 19 of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! (have you bought your copy?). The two chapters are Underway For San Diego and All Present And Accounted For. The mechanisms in these two chapters focus on building competence.

Chapter 18: Underway For San Diego (more…)

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Part III: Competence

One of the two pillars that support Marquet’s concept of control is confidence. Confidence requires people to be technically competent to make the decision effectively. While this sounds pretty obvious, the classic leader-follower leverages the premise that followers do not have the competence needed to make decisions. Part III focuses on the mechanisms Marquet used to establish and strengthen technical competence.

Chapter 16: Mistakes Just Happen (more…)

At least 99% of the time, micromanagement is bad. It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and break the cycle of micromanagement. It would be equally as nice if just recognizing that you were a micromanager was enough to change the behavior. While knowing is part of the battle, micromanagement is an addiction that requires effort to stop. There are several steps I have found useful that can be taken to breaking the addiction of micromanagement (more…)