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Mike Abrashoff

Former Commander, USS Benfold and Author, It’s Your Ship

  • Took command of the near-worst performing ship in the Navy; 12 months later it was named the best ship in the fleet – using the same crew.
  • Inspires people to think differently about organizational culture and how they lead. Key takeaway: don’t dwell on what can’t be controlled; focus on the one thing they can influence.
  • Shows why the most important thing a captain can do is see the ship through the eyes of the crew. Learn to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence.
  • Top-down leadership is dead. When the crew would present a problem, Mike’s signature response became “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!”
Speech Descriptions
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.
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NO LIMITS: WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS WHAT YOU ACHIEVE
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. This presentation will challenge you to think differently on how to set expectations while realizing the only limits that you have are self-imposed.
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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 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.
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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 breakout session, most often used as a follow-on to Mike’s keynote, creates a half-day program that provides attendees with powerful tools and strategies to apply in their work environment.
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Mike Abrashoff's Story
Mike Abrashoff is at the center 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 many organizations today. That’s why dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company have cited Mike’s story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders especially identify with Mike’s situation; being accountable for the results in an environment where he couldn’t make the rules.

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More About Mike

Keywords: Organizational Transformation, Corporate Culture, Turnaround Stories, Teamwork, Military Background, Safety, Change, Reinventing Management, Real Leaders, HR Focus, Improving Performance, Empowerment, Inspiration, Diversity, Innovation, Leadership, Managing/Leading Change, Motivation, Organizational Culture, Peak Performance, Accountability, Popular for Sales Groups, Author,  Practitioners, and Execution.