It’s Your Ship with Mike Abrashoff: Lead to Succeed 41
In this Lead to Succeed episode, Naphtali interviews Mike Abrashoff. Mike 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.
2:09 – Naphtali introduces Mike
2:37 – Should new leaders should bring their own people in to join them or work with holdovers?
4:47 – What Mike would do during the first 30 days in a new position
6:57 – Why Mike interviewed every crew member of the USS Benfold
7:25 – The benefits of a “fear free” culture
9:47 – What “playing to win” means to Mike
10:02 – How giving people space actually improves discipline
10:37 – The question no one ever asked this technician before
11:08 – Accountability is not empowerment, empowerment leads to accountability
14:00 – A powerful question Mike used to interview his sailors
17:58 – How terrified Mike was when he first became captain
21:11 – What motivated Mike to pick up trash on the ship’s deck
23:17 – Why Mike challenged long standing beliefs
26:01 – The benefits of steady, incremental improvements
27:10 – What Mike is most proud of
31:05 – Rapid fire
35:15 – Assume others want to do a great job
Get Naphtali’s book, “Becoming the New Boss: The New Leader's Guide to Sustained Success”
Please subscribe to, rate and review the show. Your feedback gives social proof and encourages more folks to listen.
Please share this recording with your networks and tag me as well.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free, no obligation executive/leadership coaching session.