Sunday, July 29, 2012

Turn The Ship Around

There are occasions when I’m not in a very good mood and I just may be a bit negative. Kellie might say that the occasions when I’m not negative are as infrequent as Haley’s Comet – that’s if she had any clue about astronomy. But Kellie has a remedy for adjusting my emotional state, she calls it smile therapy. She insists that I grin for 30 seconds, and before 30 seconds can pass, I’m laughing, and the bad mood and contrary attitude have evaporated. Kellie intuitively understands that you cannot not maintain a negative attitude or foul mood while behaving in a joyful manner.

My good friend and fellow former submarine captain David Marquet used a similar technique to take one of worst performing submarines in the Pacific Fleet and transform it into one of the most tactically proficient ships in the Navy in less than a year. How did he do it? Like Kellie, he recognized that if you if change BEHAVIOR, a change in thinking and attitude will follow. By changing how his crew greeted visitors and streamlining the approval of vacation time, David began a journey of modifying his men's behavior that led to dramatically improved crew moral and performance.
David’s new book, Turn The Ship Around: How To Create Leadership At Every Level, tells the tale of how he led the submarine USS Santa Fe to an unprecedented level of success by changing a few basic behaviors and suppressing his urge to take charge and issue orders. While immediate success can be measured in a number of ways, the most powerful and enduring aspect of Marquet's approach is that his ship and crew continued to excel long after his departure, with a highly disproportionate number of his officers (10) going on to command their own submarines. 
While his insights can be applied to almost any business or organization, Kellie uses these principles at home to make for a much happier family life.
Turn The Ship Around is not a fat, boring tome that drones on about leadership theories; it’s an engaging story about a ship and its crew and how they changed their thinking and performance simply by changing their behavior. You can do the same with your family or business.
A top graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, L. David Marquet commanded the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe, turning the crew from "worst to first." Santa Fe earned numerous awards for being the most improved ship in the Pacific and the most combat-effective ship in his squadron. You can get his book, Turn The Ship Around, at Amazon  


  1. I am glad to see you feature Captain David Marquet, his book, "Turn The Ship Around!", and the things he did on the USS Santa Fe. David Marquet is a remarkable person.

    David's book reveals a solid, well-proven leadership approach which comes down to empowering people; giving people real responsibility and real authority; inspiring the empowerment of engaged people and leadership at all levels. On the USS Santa Fe, David's leadership structure established mechanisms that created a favorable environment in which the crew were released to grow their knowledge and skills, ultimately gaining the autonomy over their tasks and resources to become leaders. At the same time, David's approach challenged the paradigm of the hierarchical organization by revealing the process to tear down pyramids, create a flat organization, and to develop leaders, not followers.

    David's accomplishments onboard the USS Santa Fe are impressive, and his book is a must read.

  2. I will have to try this smile technique with my wife sometime. Or have her try it on me since I'm the grumpy one!