[x]

CLIENT LOGIN: ADD SPEAKER TO FOLIO

Please enter your username and password below to add this speaker to your folio.


Tabs

If you want to know about change management and inspiring leadership, who better to ask than Mike Abrashoff, the naval commander who took on the worst performing ship in the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet and in a single year transformed it into the best ship in the whole Navy without changing the crew. His inspiring story of how he learned to see his command through the eyes of his crew and to create an environment where they felt safe, empowered and supported has many lessons for anyone who aspires to leadership, and incidentally inspired a book, It's Your Ship, sales of which are now approaching one million copies.

As the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet at the age of just 36, Mike Abrashoff was handed command of USS Benfold, a ship that was suffering low morale, high crew turnover and appalling performance reviews. Abrashoff approached these problems with his Leadership Roadmap, a philosophy based on empowering each individual crewmember in the achievement of excellence; he became famous for his mantra to his crew: “It's your ship."

Abrashoff's New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book and two subsequent follow-up volumes explain how his principles achieved 99% crew retention, a tripling in promotions and a 25% reduction in operating expenses. Just a year after taking command, and with the same crew, USS Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for the most combat-ready crew in the fleet.

An expert military strategist who has served as Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J.Perry and also served in the Persian Gulf during the implementation of United Nations sanctions against Iraq, Mike Abrashoff is the founder of GLS Worldwide, a firm which helps leaders to re-imagine their strategies for optimal performance.

Full Profile

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

Why Mike Abrashoff?

A Legendary Tale of Organizational Transformation: Mike
Abrashoff took command of the worst-performing ship in the
Navy’s Pacific Fleet – 12 months later it was the best ship in the
entire Navy . . . using the same crew. How? The transformation
began with Abrashoff working to see the ship through the eyes of
his crew and learning to lead differently.

Leadership Lessons – Heralded in Harvard Business Review and Fast Company: Dozens
of publications have cited Abrashoff’s tale as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders identify
with his story of being accountable for the results in an environment where they don’t make the
rules. He wrestled with an extreme version of the management challenges business faces today
– and won.

U.S.S. Benfold: The Ship That Launched a Bestseller: Since it was released in 2002, It’s
Your Ship has sold nearly 900,000 copies. Its timeless message of leadership and
organizational transformation has inspired thousands. Don’t use the outside forces that stand in
your way as excuses – control the things you can influence and amazing results will follow.

A Powerful Message on Improving Organizational Performance: Command-and-control
leadership is dead. As a speaker, Mike Abrashoff challenges and inspires audiences to rethink
their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture. His powerful talks are tailored to suit:
improve engagement, execution, leadership skills, teamwork, innovation and more.

Inspiring Keynote Speaker on Leadership and Change: As commander, the one thing
Abrashoff could influence was his crew’s attitude. “I didn’t turn the ship around,” he says “my
crew did that. I created 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?’.”

Roadmap to Creating a Powerful Organizational Culture: Culture is the ultimate competitive
advantage. “Leaders must understand how profoundly they affect people. Their optimism and
pessimism are equally infectious and set the tone and spirit of everyone around them.”
Abrashoff shows how to unleash a culture that achieves breakthrough performance.

At the age of 36, the Navy selected Abrashoff to become Commander of USS Benfold – at the time, the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet. The immediate challenges that faced him on this underperforming Naval war ship were staggering: exceptionally low morale, high turnover and unacceptably low performance evaluations. Few thought that this ship could improve. In many ways, the USS Benfold was actually an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today.

The solution was to establish a system of management techniques that Abrashoff calls The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his leadership approach on Benfold was a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion, and by engaging the hearts, minds, and loyalties of workers – with conviction and humility. “The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew.” According to Abrashoff, The Leadership Roadmap is a practice that empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence. “It’s your ship,” he was known to say. His former sailors to this day still remind him of it.

By every measure, these principles were able to achieve breakthrough results. Personnel turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1 percent. The rate of military promotions tripled, and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25 percent. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. Most important – this transformation took place with the same crew. What had changed was the ship’s culture and Abrashoff’s leadership style.

Abrashoff recounted the leadership lessons from the turnaround of USS Benfold in It’s Your Ship, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, with over 800,000 copies sold to date. This extraordinary interest in Abrashoff’s leadership journey and Benfold’s organizational lessons led to two follow-up books – Get Your Ship Together and It’s Our Ship. Those books took readers deeper into ways these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.

Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Abrashoff served as the Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait; and served as the Executive Officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

Mike Abrashoff is the founder of GLS Worldwide, a consulting firm which works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and business challenges within their organization. The firm challenges leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.


Mike Abrashoff Speaker Videos Back to top

Demo Video


Mike Abrashoff brings his extraordinary story of transforming the worst performing ship in the US Pacific Fleet to a civilian audience. He demonstrates that whatever is outside your control, there is always that one variable for which you as a leader must be responsible: “I don't get to pick and choose the people that are assigned to me, I have zero input into the budget we're given to accomplish our mission: my opportunity was to engage our crew and connect with them."

Abrashoff explains the philosophy that is at the heart of his leadership strategy; giving his crew the privilege of taking responsibility. As he says, “I can order my team to get a mission accomplished, but I can't order excellence; the excellence only comes about when us leaders, the captains of our own ship, lead those engaged associates and connect with them so they take just as much ownership of the business as we have."

Keynote Speech



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


When you listen to Mike Abrashoff speak, you are listening to a man who has developed leadership techniques that enabled him to take a fighting warship from the lowest to the highest ranking in the U.S. Navy within a single year. He explains how he rejected the traditional command and control model and made his crew responsible for their own excellence; his typical response to a problem being, “What would you do? It's your ship!"

Bringing his experience on the USS Benfold to the civilian world, Abrashoff demonstrates how the power of any organization lies in its people, and provides his audience with a toolkit which shows just how they can utilize that power.

After giving his keynote speech Mike Abrashoff can lead you on from the Leadership Roadmap to show you exactly how it can be implemented, with Take Action breakout sessions. Led by senior strategists from his own GLS Worldwide firm, a fast-paced workshop customized to your organization’s cultural and leadership issues will nail down the learning which Abrashoff has already shared in the most practical and stimulating fashion.
IT’S YOUR SHIP – ACHIEVING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, morale was low, turnover was high and performance ranked at the bottom of the Pacific Fleet. Twelve months later the ship was the benchmark for performance – the shining star … using the very same crew. This inspiring talk is based on the vital leadership lessons Abrashoff learned as he led the remarkable turnaround of the ship.

The first lesson was Abrashoff’s realization that before the ship’s performance could improve, his own leadership style had to change from the traditional command and control model. When the crew would present a problem, Abrashoff became known for responding “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!”

His Leadership Roadmap principles created a high performance culture and empowered his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of the way things were done. Abrashoff’s presentation leaves audiences with the tools and inspiration to lead differently and elevate organizational performance to new levels.

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 the Leadership Roadmap in action. Abrashoff brings to life stories of 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. He shows real leaders achieving dramatic results as they work to address their most pressing people challenges: collaboration, commitment, cohesion, accountability, engagement, rapid and continual innovation and diversity in the workforce.

In example after example, the lessons from the Benfold clearly translate across all kinds of organizations – corporations, small business, non-profits and government. Abrashoff shows audiences, by example, how to use their new leadership toolkit. “It’s Our Ship” goes deep into the how-tos of creating a culture where everyone takes ownership and responsibility for taking performance to the next level.

TAKE ACTION BREAKOUT SESSION
Meant to deepen the learning from Mike Abrashoff’s keynote talk, Take Action sessions provide attendees with additional powerful tools and strategies to apply in their work environment. Facilitated by a senior strategist from Abrashoff’s firm, GLS Worldwide, and taking place immediately following the keynote, Take Action sessions create an exciting atmosphere that examines the key components of high performing leaders, teams and organizations. Participants will experience innovative, fast-paced individual and group exercises tailored to the leadership and cultural issues most relevant to the organization. They’ll learn practical application of principles outlined in the keynote and build a roadmap to achieve the personal and organizational goals they’ve outlined. Take Action sessions are customizable to meet time and resource-sensitive needs and require a minimum of 2 hours.



Mike Abrashoff Speaker Testimonials Back to top

"Mike Abrashoff was terrific. His message resonated with our members. He was also so easy to work with. The best way to describe his presentation is the book signing. It is the first time that we have sold out the books of the keynoter!"
Massachusetts Municipal Association

"Excellent presentation AND presenter. Captain Abrashoff was very believable...REAL! Captain Abrashoff′s ideas of leadership could be used within any organization. This was an excellent motivational talk!!"
Scott & White

"The ′day after′ is over and the impact is reverberating throughout the organization. The feedback was clear - your presentation ranked #1 for most valuable - just above our CEO! 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."
Nokia Siemens Networks

"Mike Abrashoff was an outstanding speaker and really connected with the audience. Not only was he wonderful to listen to, but his messages resonated."
The Episcopal Church

"Mike Abrashoff′s remarkable story regarding the transformation of USS Benfold was extremely well received and appreciated by our event participants, who found great inspiration and practicality in his remarks. These are challenging times for many and his perspective on leadership and leading during difficult times is timely as well as thought provoking."
California Bankers Association

"Mike Abrashoff was terrific. His message resonated with our members. He was also so easy to work with. The best way to describe his presentation is the book signing. It is the first time that we have sold out the books of the keynoter!"
Massachusetts Municipal Association

"Excellent presentation AND presenter. Captain Abrashoff was very believable...REAL! Captain Abrashoff′s ideas of leadership could be used within any organization. This was an excellent motivational talk!!"
Scott & White




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

Share

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Google Plus

Top25 Speaker Voting

Mike Abrashoff needs 21 vote(s) to make it into the Top 25 speakers on Speaking.com!


Speaker Booking Tip

“Tip: ask your speaker to do a book signing or attend a VIP meal with your guests. ”

For Event Planners



Keynote Speaker Booking Toolkit.
Booking a Celebrity Speaker.
How to Find and Book the Right Speaker.
Google+ Event Planning Forum.
Tips for International Clients Booking U.S. Based Speakers.


Similar Speakers

  • Peter Sheahan Founder & Group CEO of Karrikins Group, Peter Sheahan is known internationally for his innovative business thinking and thought leadership. Peter has advised leaders from…
  • Hamish Taylor Hamish Taylor began his career in brand management at Procter & Gamble Ltd., where he eventually took charge of the household cleaner portfolio for Flash…
  • Tal Ben-Shahar Teaching to over 1400 Harvard University students, Tal Ben-Shahar's course on “Positive Psychology" was the most popular in the University, while another course, “The Psychology…

SPEAKING.com Testimonials

The Advisory Board Company

Working with your speakers bureau has been a pleasure. Everyone on your team was extremely responsive and informative, and really helped us to customize our event. I will be sure to reach out to your agency again in the future with any speaker needs that I may have.

The Advisory Board Company



About SPEAKING.com

Established in 1994, we are exclusive agents for some of the world's leading experts, celebrities and professional speakers.

We offer event planners a fully staffed speaker logistics planning team, plus a personal SPEAKING.com Account Executive – a knowledgeable and trustworthy partner. We guarantee your satisfaction with your speaker and a smooth booking process.

Contact us today to book your favorite speaker.



"Mike Abrashoff was terrific. His message resonated with our members. He was also so easy to work with. The best way to describe his presentation is the book signing. It is the first time that we have sold out the books of the keynoter!"
Massachusetts Municipal Association

"Excellent presentation AND presenter. Captain Abrashoff was very believable...REAL! Captain Abrashoff′s ideas of leadership could be used within any organization. This was an excellent motivational talk!!"
Scott & White

"The ′day after′ is over and the impact is reverberating throughout the organization. The feedback was clear - your presentation ranked #1 for most valuable - just above our CEO! 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."
Nokia Siemens Networks

"Mike Abrashoff was an outstanding speaker and really connected with the audience. Not only was he wonderful to listen to, but his messages resonated."
The Episcopal Church

"Mike Abrashoff′s remarkable story regarding the transformation of USS Benfold was extremely well received and appreciated by our event participants, who found great inspiration and practicality in his remarks. These are challenging times for many and his perspective on leadership and leading during difficult times is timely as well as thought provoking."
California Bankers Association

"Mike Abrashoff was terrific. His message resonated with our members. He was also so easy to work with. The best way to describe his presentation is the book signing. It is the first time that we have sold out the books of the keynoter!"
Massachusetts Municipal Association

"Excellent presentation AND presenter. Captain Abrashoff was very believable...REAL! Captain Abrashoff′s ideas of leadership could be used within any organization. This was an excellent motivational talk!!"
Scott & White


It′s Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership
The story of Captain Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. By governing his ship with his unique management techniques, Abrashoff turned the Benfold into a model of naval efficiency, with amazing cost savings, the highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet, and a highly motivated and top performing crew.

In IT′S YOUR SHIP, he first demonstrated how to bring his successful management techniques from the ship to the boardroom. Now, in his newest book IT′S OUR SHIP, in the same rugged, can-do voice, Abrashoff will focus on the leadership, motivational, and management insights and tips that he has learned from his last six years of addressing business and corporate audiences.

Abrashoff′s timely advice will be eminently prescriptive, and will feature anecdotes and insights from leaders of businesses large and small and from public and non-profit sectors.
Get Your Ship Together: How Great Leaders Inspire Ownership from the Keel
Former U.S. Navy Commander Michael Abrashoff attracted worldwide media attention for his success in turning around a struggling ship, the USS Benfold—the subject of his acclaimed bestseller, It’s Your Ship. Since then, he’s been a fixture on the business lecture circuit, spreading an empowering message that any organization can be turned around with compassionate but firm leadership. He is now nearly as popular a speaker as Rudy Giuliani, Jack Welch, or Jim Collins.

Abrashoff never claimed to have all the answers. He also knew that there were plenty of other creative leaders in the navy, army, air force, marine corps, and even the coast guard who could teach businesspeople how to motivate, inspire, and get great results under pressure. So he asked around, found some fascinating people in every branch of the U.S. military and the business world, and interviewed them about leadership and teambuilding. The result is Get Your Ship Together—a book that will be just as valuable as It’s Your Ship.

For example, Abrashoff introduces us to a working-class enlisted man who rose rapidly in the navy for his creative leadership under fire; an army platoon leader who fought in Afghanistan; the first woman to fly an Apache helicopter in combat; a former commander of the air force’s elite Blue Angels; and many other unsung heroes. Abrashoff distills their stories into fresh lessons that can be applied in the business world, such as:

  • Make a contract with your people and honor it
  • Develop your subordinates better so you can buy back a little quality of life
  • Conduct the battle on your terms, not those of your adversary

It′s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy
The story of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. Now Abrashoff offers this fascinating tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today′s uncertain business seas.

When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, a ship armed with every cutting-edge system available, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity. Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within months he created a crew of confident and inspired problem-solvers eager to take the initiative and take responsibility for their actions. The slogan on board became "It′s your ship," and Benfold was soon recognized far and wide as a model of naval efficiency.

How did Abrashoff do it? Against the backdrop of today′s United States Navy-Benfold was a key player in our Persian Gulf fleet-Abrashoff shares his secrets of successful management including:

  • See the ship through the eyes of the crew: By soliciting a sailor′s suggestions, Abrashoff drastically reduced tedious chores that provided little additional value.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate: The more Abrashoff communicated the plan, the better the crew′s performance. His crew would eventually call him "Megaphone Mike," since they heard from him so often.
  • Create discipline by focusing on purpose: Discipline skyrocketed when Abrashoff′s crew believed that what they were doing was important.
  • Listen aggressively: After learning that many sailors wanted to use the GI Bill, Abrashoff brought a test official aboard the ship-and held the SATs forty miles off the Iraqi coast.

From achieving amazing cost savings to winning the highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet, Captain Abrashoff′s extraordinary campaign sent shock waves through the U.S. Navy. It can help you change the course of your ship, no matter where your business battles are fought.

IT’S YOUR SHIP – ACHIEVING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, morale was low, turnover was high and performance ranked at the bottom of the Pacific Fleet. Twelve months later the ship was the benchmark for performance – the shining star … using the very same crew. This inspiring talk is based on the vital leadership lessons Abrashoff learned as he led the remarkable turnaround of the ship.

The first lesson was Abrashoff’s realization that before the ship’s performance could improve, his own leadership style had to change from the traditional command and control model. When the crew would present a problem, Abrashoff became known for responding “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!”

His Leadership Roadmap principles created a high performance culture and empowered his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of the way things were done. Abrashoff’s presentation leaves audiences with the tools and inspiration to lead differently and elevate organizational performance to new levels.

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 the Leadership Roadmap in action. Abrashoff brings to life stories of 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. He shows real leaders achieving dramatic results as they work to address their most pressing people challenges: collaboration, commitment, cohesion, accountability, engagement, rapid and continual innovation and diversity in the workforce.

In example after example, the lessons from the Benfold clearly translate across all kinds of organizations – corporations, small business, non-profits and government. Abrashoff shows audiences, by example, how to use their new leadership toolkit. “It’s Our Ship” goes deep into the how-tos of creating a culture where everyone takes ownership and responsibility for taking performance to the next level.

TAKE ACTION BREAKOUT SESSION
Meant to deepen the learning from Mike Abrashoff’s keynote talk, Take Action sessions provide attendees with additional powerful tools and strategies to apply in their work environment. Facilitated by a senior strategist from Abrashoff’s firm, GLS Worldwide, and taking place immediately following the keynote, Take Action sessions create an exciting atmosphere that examines the key components of high performing leaders, teams and organizations. Participants will experience innovative, fast-paced individual and group exercises tailored to the leadership and cultural issues most relevant to the organization. They’ll learn practical application of principles outlined in the keynote and build a roadmap to achieve the personal and organizational goals they’ve outlined. Take Action sessions are customizable to meet time and resource-sensitive needs and require a minimum of 2 hours.


Demo Video


Mike Abrashoff brings his extraordinary story of transforming the worst performing ship in the US Pacific Fleet to a civilian audience. He demonstrates that whatever is outside your control, there is always that one variable for which you as a leader must be responsible: “I don't get to pick and choose the people that are assigned to me, I have zero input into the budget we're given to accomplish our mission: my opportunity was to engage our crew and connect with them."

Abrashoff explains the philosophy that is at the heart of his leadership strategy; giving his crew the privilege of taking responsibility. As he says, “I can order my team to get a mission accomplished, but I can't order excellence; the excellence only comes about when us leaders, the captains of our own ship, lead those engaged associates and connect with them so they take just as much ownership of the business as we have."

Keynote Speech