It's Your Ship

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It’s Your Ship
A Book Review
Shanita Kitts
Averett University

Table of Contents
Book Information……………………………………………………………………………...... 3 Content………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 Reviewer’s Evaluation………………………………………………………………………….. 13 Reviewer’s Information………………………………………………………………………… 14 References……………………………………………………………………………………… 14

Book Information
Title: It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy Author: Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
Publisher’s Name: Warner Books, Inc.
Publisher’s Location, Year of Publication: New York, NY, 2002 Number of Pages: 210 pages

Content
The overall objective of the book is to teach new, and old, leaders to become better leaders. While anyone can benefit from reading this book, the intended audience is leaders in any organization. One statistic that should be alarming to all leaders of businesses was that 65 percent of people leave their companies because of the managers (Abrashoff, 2002). How do leaders change that statistic? Abrashoff believes that running a ship is very similar to running any business; it takes motivating a crew to perform at the best of their abilities to achieve optimal efficiency and completion of tasks. He successfully takes his experiences from leading a Naval crew and teaches the audience how to apply it to their organizations. Along with highlighting every winning moment he and his crew experienced on the USS Benfold, Captain Abrashoff also shows failing moments the team had to endure. Those examples show the audience that in order to succeed, there has to be some trials along the way.

Abrashoff introduces readers to the 11 lessons he has learned that helped him become a better leader: take command; lead by example; listen aggressively; communicate purpose and meaning; create a climate of trust; look for results, not salutes; take calculated risks; go beyond standard procedure; build people up; generate unity; and improve the crew’s quality of life. He dedicated a chapter to each lesson and explains the importance of each and how to apply them to any business.

Chapter one talks about how Abrashoff became the captain of USS Benfold and how he had to take command. His first obstacle was wondering if everyone was going to like him. He quickly realized that “be likable is not high among a ship captain’s job requirements… to be respected, trusted, and effective” is (Abrashoff, 2002, p. 12). After that, he realized “a challenge for leaders… is attracting and retaining … the best employees and more important, how to motivate them so that they work with passion, energy, and enthusiasm” (Abrashoff, 2002, p. 12). Leaders need to listen to their employees so they can better understand what they are going through. Along with listening, employees need to be motivated. Motivation helps employees want to do their work and do the best job. Another obstacle was learning the real reason why soldiers were not re-enlisting. Abrashoff (2002) stated the following:

I read some exit surveys, interviews conducted by the military to find out why
people are leaving. I assumed that low pay would be the first reason, but in fact it was fifth. The top reason was not being treated with respect or dignity; second was being prevented from making an impact on the organization; third, not being

listened to; and fourth, not being rewarded with more responsibility. (p. 13) All of those reasons are very similar to why people are leaving civilian jobs. Only one conclusion could come from it: all leaders are making the same mistakes.

The best answer for those obstacles was summed up perfectly when he talked about his organizing principle. Abrashoff (2002) said “the key to being a successful skipper is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew” (p. 13). The leader does not always come up with the ideas; leaders would benefit greatly if they listened to their crew more. Empowering employees makes them realize their potential. When “given...
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