Turn the Ship Around, How to Create Leadership at Every Level

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By L David Marquet, Captain, U.S Navy (Retired), Foreword by Stephen R. Covey

As part of our Great Conversations series on Leadership and Innovation, I’d like to recommend this as one of the most inspiring books on leadership that I have read. It tells the story of how a visionary captain in the US Navy bucked the system of traditional top-down (leader-follower) management by successfully implementing a leader-leader paradigm to create active leaders out of passive followers at every level on the ship he commanded, the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe.

When Captain Marquet took command, morale and performance were poor and the ship had the worst retention rate in the fleet. In less than 24 months he and the crew took the Santa Fe from worst to best, earning numerous awards and notably one for the most significant improvements in performance within the fleet.

The process of change which Captain Marquet boldly initiated became a circuitous journey with some exhilarating incremental successes and some potentially fatal setbacks along the way. His candor in describing the challenges he faced and judgment calls he made in the process place the reader clearly in moment.

Each chapter is based on a particular leadership situation and begins with a question to the reader requiring some introspective thought. What follows is a related leadership situation on the Santa Fe and how it was managed. The author ends each chapter by posing “Questions to Consider” as a catalyst for assessing your own organizations’ performance.

Hardly a page goes by without some great anecdote, pearl of wisdom and actionable advice. Captain Marquet’s methods and lessons apply to every leadership challenge, not only in the military but in business, non-profits and other organizations of all sizes.

Turn the Ship Around, How to Create Leadership at Every Level is available at

Amazon and Barnes & Noble

David can be reached at

Visit his blog site at for additional information


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