It’s Your Ship

“It’s Your Ship” is the story of a Navy captain and his ship, the Benfold.  Actually, it is the story of the transformation of a mediocre crew, 310 sailors, into an exemplary crew on an exemplary ship – a ship that became a model for the entire Navy.

What did Captain Abrashoff do that led this transformation?  Simple yet vital things:

  • He listened aggressively.  He adopted ideas no matter where they came from.
  • He cared about his sailors enough to challenge his bosses.  What did his sailors need to be effective and content?
  • He fostered team unity throughout the ship.
  • He looked for ways to have fun as a crew, including karaoke nights and cookouts on board. He believed in people and affirmed people whenever he could.
  • He was always on the ship’s PA system, communicating with his crew.
  • He was not afraid to challenge the normal Navy procedures for various tasks.  He was always open to new ways of accomplishing a task, and many of these new ways became adopted throughout the Navy.

The bottom line:  He looked out for his crew and cared enough to do things better.  He gave them ownership – “It’s Your Ship.” – and it made all the difference.

This is not a great book.  But it is a good book, peppered with interesting stories and anecdotes about life in the Navy.