Mike Abrashoff

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Former Navy Commander & Author, It's Your Ship

    Military Speakers

    Mike Abrashoff: Biography at a Glance

    • Author of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best-seller “It's Your Ship: Management Techniques From the Best Damn Ship in the Navy”
    • Named commander of the USS Benfold at 36, making him the most junior commanding officer in the U.S. Pacific Fleet
    • Teaches a system of management techniques he calls “The Leadership Roadmap”
    • Earned the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness



    Mike Abrashoff is at the center of one of the most remarkable modern day stories of organizational transformation. At the age of 36, the Navy selected Mike to become Commander of USS Benfold. At the time he was the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet – on a ship that was plagued by low morale, high turnover and abysmal performance evaluations. Few thought that the ship could improve - yet 12 months later the ship was ranked #1 in performance – using the same crew. People were amazed and the lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything.

    In many ways, the USS Benfold was actually an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today. That’s why dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company have cited Mike’s story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders especially identify with Mike’s being accountable for the results in an environment where he couldn’t make the rules.

    Mike’s solution was to establish a set of management principles that he 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 engaging the hearts, minds, and loyalties of workers with conviction and humility.

    By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results. Turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%. The rate of promotions tripled, and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. This remarkable change was accomplished by the same crew.

    Mike is author of three books. His first, It’s Your Ship, has sold over one million copies. Its message is timeless: don’t use outside forces that stand in your way as excuses – control the things you can influence and amazing results will happen. His next books, It’s Our Ship and Get Your Ship Together, showed how these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.

    A popular keynote speaker for audiences looking to ramp up organizational performance, Mike has spoken to every industry and kind of audience. He inspires audiences to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture and tailors the message to focus on engagement, execution, change, safety, diversity, leadership, teamwork, innovation, accountability and more.

    Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Mike 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 Aegis Performance Group, a consulting firm, which works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and performance challenges within their organizations. Mike and his team prompt leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.


    It's Your Ship: Achieving Breakthrough Performancearrow-down

    When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, morale was low, turnover was high and the ship’s performance
    ranked near the bottom of the Pacific Fleet. Just twelve months later the Benfold was ranked #1 – using the very same
    crew. The lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything. This inspiring talk is for every individual and
    organization looking for practical and usable ways to take organizational performance to new heights.

    It's Our Ship: Putting the Leadership Roadmap to Workarrow-down

    For organizations that want to get serious about improving performance, this presentation delivers examples of the Mike’s
    "Leadership Roadmap" in action. Mike reveals 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, safety and diversity in the

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