Mike Abrashoff is at the center of one of the most remarkable modern day stories of organizational transformation. At age 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 plagued by low morale, high turnover and abysmal performance evaluations. Few thought the ship could improve – yet 12 months later the ship was ranked #1 in performance – using the same crew. People were amazed. The lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything.
In many ways, the USS Benfold was an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today. Leaders especially identify with Mike’s being accountable for the results when 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 and 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 one thing he could influence: his crew’s attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization. Mike established a set of management principles he calls The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his leadership approach on Benfold was a process of replacing command & control with commitment & cohesion, & engaging the hearts, minds, & loyalties of workers with conviction & humility. “The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. The idea is to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence.”
By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results. Turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%. The rate of promotions tripled, and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. This remarkable change was accomplished by the same crew.
Mike is author of 3 books. His first, "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. His next books, "It’s Our Ship" and "Get Your Ship Together," showed how these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.
A popular keynote speaker for audiences looking to ramp up organizational performance, Mike 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 and helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. He served as the Executive Officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Mike Abrashoff is the founder of a consulting firm working with and supporting leaders addressing leadership, talent & 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
Click topic above to see more speakers on that topic
Speaker's Asking Fee Range
Please call us.
Click on fee range to see more speakers.
This is the starting keynote fee range - other programs may be higher.
Click on state above to see more speakers from that state.
The fee range quoted means the speaker's fee starts somewhere within that range. Note that speaker's fees are subject to change and some speakers may have special fee quotes.
“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