Summary of It's Your Ship

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It's Your Ship book summary


9 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


Like many books on leadership from nonbusiness walks of life, this sea tale offers a refreshing new perspective. US Navy Captain D. Michael Abrashoff explains how he and his crew turned their under-performing vessel into the pride of the Pacific Fleet. His colorful, somewhat self-promotional style of storytelling makes it enjoyable, especially for those who are curious about life on a guided missile destroyer. What is less clear, however, is how to apply the Captain’s lessons from a naval vessel to the business of running an ordinary corporation. "Generate unity" and "build up your people" are noble maxims, but how do you apply them in a corporate environment where the greatest threat often stems from friendly fire? In any case, the Captain offers engaging stories about how he steered the USS Benfold back on course. getAbstract recommends his book to executives and students of management who appreciate an anecdotal approach to shipshape leadership.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Captain D. Michael Abrashoff made his ship "the best damn ship in the Navy," literally, the best performing ship in the US Pacific Fleet;
  • How he turned around poor morale; and
  • How he applies his concepts to corporate management.

About the Author

Captain D. Michael Abrashoff is the former commanding officer of the USS Benfold. A graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, he also served as military assistant to then Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. Abrashoff left the Navy in 2001, becoming founder and CEO of Boston-based Grassroots Leadership Inc.



Assuming Command

The USS Benfold is a sophisticated, powerful 8,600-ton guided missile destroyer in the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet. It is a beautiful ship crewed by 310 highly trained individuals. Its four gas turbine engines are capable of propelling the vessel at more than 33 miles an hour, so fast that at top speed it tosses a huge rooster-tail of backwash into the air. But, when Captain D. Michael Abrashoff assumed command in 1997, the Benfold was in grievous trouble:

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    Joe Marino 9 months ago
    Great case study of creating a high performance team.
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    Laksmi Astuti 1 year ago
    Very interesting! I learned a lot about leadership from this book. Despite the writer is a captain, a military guy, he lead his ship in much different way. Pretty much talking about empowerment of his team.
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    Michael Harman 3 years ago
    The crew of any corperation is only as good you allow it to be.

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