It’s your Ship is a book about the USS Benfold, and its Captain during their Middle-Eastern tour during the Iraqi war, a period spanning around 3 years. The lessons learned by the Captain -named Michael Abrashoff– has translated into a great manual for starting as well as current managers. The main idea behind the Captain’s management style was to always push the envelope for performance, he constantly stresses throughout the book that he would always push his crew to be the best they could be. He achieved this by trusting his team to make mistakes and putting them into difficult situations to allow them to grow and become the finest, best-performing sailors in the entire US navy. He would also stress the importance of having fun in his ship while still maintaining an air of excellence and responsibility. As an example, he would follow procedure up to a point, that being if he saw something he could improve on or do better, he would do it, even if it meant insubordination towards the Admiralty. Moreover, the Benfold Captain would almost always deliver excellent results due to the competence of his crew, as a casualty of his outstanding leadership.
By pushing his crew to do things better, efficiently and more quickly, he could rest assured the top brass would always assign his Destroyer the most difficult missions (their cruise missile accuracy was of special note). This further honed his team and more than that prepared them for bigger and better things. He was excellent at cross-training his sailors, so much so that each one would be able to do the job of any other, no matter the rank. As an example, one of the tasks of the acting Captain was to escort VIPs such as Admirals throughout the ship, instead he directed one of his Ship’s morale officers of a lower rank to do the job for him. This was not out of laziness, but to highlight the fact that this sailor of low-rank was so familiar with all the ships’ complicated systems, that he was able to conduct the tour with aplomb. The Captain of the USS Benfold drew the ire of his fellow Captains due to his ship’s outstanding record, as it seemed to them that he was showing them up (he says it was one of his regrets he was not more cognizant of this, and liked to brag). However this drives home the point that he was not competing against anyone consciously, but against himself. To create the best functioning ship/crew that he knew they could be. By believing in his crew he engendered an environment of competence and excellence, a feeling that I now would like to impart on my own team in order to maximize their and the company’s potential.
It’s Your Ship Essay
By Juan A. Horrillo
Encana – Denver, CO