How One Word Turned a Sinking Ship Into A Culture of Power

It had been his lifelong dream to command his own submarine, but what started out as the realization of that dream quickly turned into the biggest challenge of his life.

A last minute switch found newly-minted nuclear fast-attack submarine Commander, David Marquet, at the helm of a sub with the worst-rated crew and a turnover-rate that would’ve destroyed any business.

It was a shock to the system, but within the first few days, Marquet began to see things differently. It was an incredible opportunity to not only change the culture on the ship, but to radically rethink both his own and the traditional absolute-authority approach to leadership that the military had become known for.

He quickly developed a new approach built upon humility and empowerment that transformed everything. Within 12 months, the worst-performing sub had become the best performing and Marquet’s approach to leadership was gaining attention as a potential new model.

In this episode, we go deep into that tumultuous time in his life and career. We explore the shock of his new commission, the horrifying incidents that led him to realize how broken the culture and leadership system had become.

We dive into how changing a single word would spark a wholesale shift in culture and performance. And we go deep into his new “Leader Leader” approach that led to what most believed was an impossible transformation, under extreme conditions in a remarkably short period of time.

Since retiring from the Navy, Marquet now shares his leadership ideas with organizations of all sizes and is the author of the book, Turn This Ship Around: How to Create Leadership at Every Level

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