“ It went fantastic. Full house and everyone raved. He is one of the best speakers on leadership and management I have seen in a very long time. ”~ Senior Manager, Ingram Micro

Mike AbrashoffFormer Commander, USS Benfold and Author, It’s Your Ship, Thought Leader & Co-Owner, Aegis Performance Group

 

Mike AbrashoffFormer Commander, USS Benfold and Author, It’s Your Ship, Thought Leader & Co-Owner, Aegis Performance Group

Book Mike

Highlights

  • Took command of Navy’s near-worst performing ship; twelve months later it was best ship in the fleet – using the same crew.
  • Culture is everything. You can’t order excellence – learn to swap command and control for commitment and cohesion.
  • Inspires people to rethink how they lead: don’t focus on what’s out of your control; focus on the things you can influence.
  • Self-imposed limitations are the greatest enemy of improving performance. Learn new paths to breakthrough performance.
  • Everyone engaged: unleash the power of your organization. When the crew presented a problem, Mike’s signature response was “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!”

Biography

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 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 is clear, “I didn’t turn the ship around – my crew did that. What I did was to reinvent my leadership style and create 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?’.” Mike focused on the one thing he could influence: his crew’s attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization.

  • Read More About Mike Abrashoff

    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 USS 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. “The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. This empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence.”

    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, USS 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 – from board retreats to front line personnel; from sales groups to universities; from Fortune 500s to startups. 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.

    Its our ship
    Its your ship

    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 a co-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 to create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.

    Where in the World is Mike?

Mike's Videos

What People Are Saying

"The feedback was overwhelmingly positive! I personally have never listened to a better speaker. Your message was tailor made for my team and I look forward to discussing future opportunities with you. Thank you so very much Mike. "

Testimonial Photo
Vice President

Canadian Energy Company

"We got outstanding feedback from your presentation. We have never had such positive feedback so you very much exceeded our expectations. You were quoted numerous times throughout the remainder of the conference which says people took your message to heart and will put it to work in their everyday jobs – exactly what we aimed for! "

Testimonial Photo
CEO

National Restaurant Chain

"I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your participant at our recent Convention in Baltimore. Your captivating talk on owning your own business was inspiring. You gave a memorable and enjoyable presentation that was enjoyed by all. Thank you for making our owners understand that they are the captains of their own destiny and that they need to take all action needed to succeed. You did a great job with setting the tone for the rest of our Convention. "

Testimonial Photo
CEO

Telecommunications Company

Mike's Resources

Mike Abrashoff's Bio
Download
Keynote Introduction
Download
Promotional Image - IYS Book
Download
Promotional Image - Headshot
Download

What They're Saying

“ It went fantastic. Full house and everyone raved. He is one of the best speakers on leadership and management I have seen in a very long time. ”

~ Senior Manager, Ingram Micro

  • Biography

    Highlights

    • Took command of Navy’s near-worst performing ship; twelve months later it was best ship in the fleet – using the same crew.
    • Culture is everything. You can’t order excellence – learn to swap command and control for commitment and cohesion.
    • Inspires people to rethink how they lead: don’t focus on what’s out of your control; focus on the things you can influence.
    • Self-imposed limitations are the greatest enemy of improving performance. Learn new paths to breakthrough performance.
    • Everyone engaged: unleash the power of your organization. When the crew presented a problem, Mike’s signature response was “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!”

    Biography

    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 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 is clear, “I didn’t turn the ship around – my crew did that. What I did was to reinvent my leadership style and create 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?’.” Mike focused on the one thing he could influence: his crew’s attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization.

    • Read More About Mike Abrashoff

      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 USS 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. “The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. This empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence.”

      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, USS 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 – from board retreats to front line personnel; from sales groups to universities; from Fortune 500s to startups. 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.

      Its our ship
      Its your ship

      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 a co-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 to create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.

      Where in the World is Mike?

  • Videos

    Mike's Videos

  • Testimonials

    What People Are Saying

    "The feedback was overwhelmingly positive! I personally have never listened to a better speaker. Your message was tailor made for my team and I look forward to discussing future opportunities with you. Thank you so very much Mike. "

    Testimonial Photo
    Vice President

    Canadian Energy Company

    "We got outstanding feedback from your presentation. We have never had such positive feedback so you very much exceeded our expectations. You were quoted numerous times throughout the remainder of the conference which says people took your message to heart and will put it to work in their everyday jobs – exactly what we aimed for! "

    Testimonial Photo
    CEO

    National Restaurant Chain

    "I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your participant at our recent Convention in Baltimore. Your captivating talk on owning your own business was inspiring. You gave a memorable and enjoyable presentation that was enjoyed by all. Thank you for making our owners understand that they are the captains of their own destiny and that they need to take all action needed to succeed. You did a great job with setting the tone for the rest of our Convention. "

    Testimonial Photo
    CEO

    Telecommunications Company

  • Books
  • Resources

    Mike's Resources

    Mike Abrashoff's Bio
    Download
    Keynote Introduction
    Download
    Promotional Image - IYS Book
    Download
    Promotional Image - Headshot
    Download

Speech Descriptions

Go Deeper With Half-Day and Full-Day Programs

Dive deep into the Leadership Roadmap with a half or full-day program. The 2-hour Take Action breakout session, most often used as a follow-on to Mike’s keynote, creates a half-day program that provides attendees with powerful tools and strategies to apply in their work environment.

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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 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.

Read more

It’s Your Ship – Achieving Breakthrough Performance

MILITARY LEADERSHIP LESSONS ANYONE CAN ADOPT 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 […]

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No Limits: What You Believe is What You Can Achieve

Sometimes in our professional lives we believe we are in a battle to beat an adversary or a competitor when in actuality, we are in competition with ourselves but just haven’t figured it out yet. This presentation will challenge you to think differently on how to set expectations while realizing the only limits that you have are self-imposed.

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Mike's Latest Blog post

Creating the Right Culture

Like ships, leaders leave a wake behind them as they pass through an organization. All eyes are on them; everything they do, no matter how insignificant, is taken as a signal, and their people follow their example, for good or...

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Make the Right Commitments

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Naval Commander in charge of one of the most technically advanced warships that’s ever been built or an entrepreneur with the task of making sure that your company, your customers and your employees are...

Read more

Why “My Way or the Highway” Leadership is History

The neat thing about what I do is that I get to meet AND LEARN FROM all sorts of people from all walks of life. WHATEVER MY EXPERIENCE, I realize that I don’t know everything and more important, that I...

Read more