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Mike Abrashoff
Travels From TRAVELS FROM
Connecticut, USA
Speaker Fee Range SPEAKING FEE RANGE ** Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.
$25,000 to $30,000
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PROFILE
Mike Abrashoff
Travels From TRAVELS FROM
Connecticut, USA
Travels From SPEAKING FEE RANGE*
$25,000 to $30,000
Email Core Agency Book Mike Abrashoff
speakers@coreagency.com
  • Mike Abrashoff took command of the near-worst performing ship in the US Navy; 12 months later it was named the best ship in the fleet – using the same crew.
  • “It’s Your Ship.” Abrashoff shows why the most important thing a leader can do is see the “ship” through the eyes of the crew. Learn to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence in your organization.
  • Command-and-control leadership is dead. Abrashoff challenges and inspires audiences to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture.

Talk about getting your ship together. At the age of 36, the US Navy selected Mike Abrashoff to become Commander – at the time, the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet – of the USS Benfold – at the time, its most underperforming warship. Newly commissioned Commander Abrashoff’s challenges were staggering: exceptionally low morale, high turnover and unacceptably low performance evaluations. Few thought the ship could improve. In many ways, the USS Benfold was actually an extreme example of the same issues facing many organizations today.

Abrashoff’s solution was to establish a system of management techniques that he termed “The Leadership Roadmap.” At the core of his leadership approach on the Benfold was a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion, and by engaging the hearts, minds and loyalties of his sailors – with conviction and humility.

The Leadership Roadmap is a practice that empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence. “It’s your ship,” he was known to say, and his former sailors to this day still remind him of it.

By every measure, these principles were able to achieve breakthrough results: Personnel turnover decreased to an unprecedented one percent. The rate of military promotions tripled, and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25 percent.

Ultimately regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. Most important – this transformation took place with the same crew. What had changed was the ship’s culture and Abrashoff’s leadership style.

As an author, Abrashoff recounted the leadership lessons from the turnaround of the USS Benfold in It’s Your Ship, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. The extraordinary interest in Commander Abrashoff’s leadership journey and Benfold’s organizational lessons led to two follow-up books – Get Your Ship Together and It’s Our Ship, which take readers and audiences deeper into ways 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, Abrashoff has spoken to every industry and kind of audience – from board retreats to front-line personnel, sales groups to universities, and Fortune 500’s to startups.

Prior to commanding the USS Benfold, Abrashoff 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.

Abrashoff is also the founder of a consulting firm which works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and business challenges within organizations. The firm challenges leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.

VIDEOS
TESTIMONIALS

"Mike Abrashoff was terrific. His message resonated with our members. He was also so easy to work with. The best way to describe his presentation is the book signing. It is the first time that we have sold out the books of the keynoter!"
Massachusetts Municipal Association

"Excellent presentation AND presenter. Captain Abrashoff was very believable...REAL! Captain Abrashoff′s ideas of leadership could be used within any organization. This was an excellent motivational talk!!"
Scott & White

"The ′day after′ is over and the impact is reverberating throughout the organization. The feedback was clear - your presentation ranked #1 for most valuable - just above our CEO! I truly appreciate the effort you obviously made to incorporate our issues and to position the call to action for them as leaders of teams."
Nokia Siemens Networks

"Mike Abrashoff was an outstanding speaker and really connected with the audience. Not only was he wonderful to listen to, but his messages resonated."
The Episcopal Church

"Mike Abrashoff′s remarkable story regarding the transformation of USS Benfold was extremely well received and appreciated by our event participants, who found great inspiration and practicality in his remarks. These are challenging times for many and his perspective on leadership and leading during difficult times is timely as well as thought provoking."
California Bankers Association

"Mike Abrashoff was terrific. His message resonated with our members. He was also so easy to work with. The best way to describe his presentation is the book signing. It is the first time that we have sold out the books of the keynoter!"
Massachusetts Municipal Association

"Excellent presentation AND presenter. Captain Abrashoff was very believable...REAL! Captain Abrashoff′s ideas of leadership could be used within any organization. This was an excellent motivational talk!!"
Scott & White

PROGRAMS

As a speaker, Mike Abrashoff challenges, inspires and empowers audiences to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture. His insightful, humorous and impactful speaking engagements are custom-tailored to address topics like: improving employee engagement, execution, safety, leadership skills, teamwork, innovation and more.

As a naval commander, Abrashoff realized he had the ability to influence his crew’s attitude and the culture they performed in. “I didn’t turn the ship around,” he says, “my crew did that. I created an environment where they felt empowered and supported. When they came to me with a problem, I’d say ‘It’s your ship, how would you fix it?’.”

In his keynote presentations and workshops, Abrashoff uses this Leadership Roadmap approach to demonstrate that culture is the ultimate competitive advantage. “Leaders must understand how profoundly they affect people. Their optimism and pessimism are equally infectious and set the tone and spirit of everyone around them.” Abrashoff shows how to cultivate a culture that promotes breakthrough performance.

IT’S YOUR SHIP – ACHIEVING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, morale was low, turnover was high and performance ranked at the bottom of the Pacific Fleet. Twelve months later the ship was the benchmark for performance – the shining star … using the very same crew. This inspiring talk is based on the vital leadership lessons Abrashoff learned as he led the remarkable turnaround of the ship.

The first lesson was Abrashoff’s realization that before the ship’s performance could improve, his own leadership style had to change from the traditional command and control model. When the crew would present a problem, Abrashoff became known for responding “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!”

His Leadership Roadmap principles created a high performance culture and empowered his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of the way things were done. Abrashoff’s presentation leaves audiences with the tools and inspiration to lead differently and elevate organizational performance to new levels.

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 the Leadership Roadmap in action. Abrashoff brings to life stories of 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 and diversity in the workforce.

In example after example, the lessons from the Benfold clearly translate across all kinds of organizations – corporations, small business, non-profits and government. Abrashoff shows audiences, by example, how to use their new leadership toolkit. “It’s Our Ship” goes deep into the how-tos of creating a culture where everyone takes ownership and responsibility for taking performance to the next level.

TAKE ACTION BREAKOUT SESSION
Meant to deepen the learning from Mike Abrashoff’s keynote talk, Take Action sessions provide attendees with additional powerful tools and strategies to apply in their work environment. Facilitated by a senior strategist from Abrashoff’s firm, GLS Worldwide, and taking place immediately following the keynote, Take Action sessions create an exciting atmosphere that examines the key components of high performing leaders, teams and organizations. Participants will experience innovative, fast-paced individual and group exercises tailored to the leadership and cultural issues most relevant to the organization. They’ll learn practical application of principles outlined in the keynote and build a roadmap to achieve the personal and organizational goals they’ve outlined. Take Action sessions are customizable to meet time and resource-sensitive needs and require a minimum of 2 hours.

BEST-SELLING BOOKS

It′s Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership
The story of Captain Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. By governing his ship with his unique management techniques, Abrashoff turned the Benfold into a model of naval efficiency, with amazing cost savings, the highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet, and a highly motivated and top performing crew.

In IT′S YOUR SHIP, he first demonstrated how to bring his successful management techniques from the ship to the boardroom. Now, in his newest book IT′S OUR SHIP, in the same rugged, can-do voice, Abrashoff will focus on the leadership, motivational, and management insights and tips that he has learned from his last six years of addressing business and corporate audiences.

Abrashoff′s timely advice will be eminently prescriptive, and will feature anecdotes and insights from leaders of businesses large and small and from public and non-profit sectors.
Get Your Ship Together: How Great Leaders Inspire Ownership from the Keel
Former U.S. Navy Commander Michael Abrashoff attracted worldwide media attention for his success in turning around a struggling ship, the USS Benfold—the subject of his acclaimed bestseller, It’s Your Ship. Since then, he’s been a fixture on the business lecture circuit, spreading an empowering message that any organization can be turned around with compassionate but firm leadership. He is now nearly as popular a speaker as Rudy Giuliani, Jack Welch, or Jim Collins.

Abrashoff never claimed to have all the answers. He also knew that there were plenty of other creative leaders in the navy, army, air force, marine corps, and even the coast guard who could teach businesspeople how to motivate, inspire, and get great results under pressure. So he asked around, found some fascinating people in every branch of the U.S. military and the business world, and interviewed them about leadership and teambuilding. The result is Get Your Ship Together—a book that will be just as valuable as It’s Your Ship.

For example, Abrashoff introduces us to a working-class enlisted man who rose rapidly in the navy for his creative leadership under fire; an army platoon leader who fought in Afghanistan; the first woman to fly an Apache helicopter in combat; a former commander of the air force’s elite Blue Angels; and many other unsung heroes. Abrashoff distills their stories into fresh lessons that can be applied in the business world, such as:

  • Make a contract with your people and honor it
  • Develop your subordinates better so you can buy back a little quality of life
  • Conduct the battle on your terms, not those of your adversary

It′s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy
The story of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. Now Abrashoff offers this fascinating tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today′s uncertain business seas.

When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, a ship armed with every cutting-edge system available, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity. Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within months he created a crew of confident and inspired problem-solvers eager to take the initiative and take responsibility for their actions. The slogan on board became "It′s your ship," and Benfold was soon recognized far and wide as a model of naval efficiency.

How did Abrashoff do it? Against the backdrop of today′s United States Navy-Benfold was a key player in our Persian Gulf fleet-Abrashoff shares his secrets of successful management including:

  • See the ship through the eyes of the crew: By soliciting a sailor′s suggestions, Abrashoff drastically reduced tedious chores that provided little additional value.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate: The more Abrashoff communicated the plan, the better the crew′s performance. His crew would eventually call him "Megaphone Mike," since they heard from him so often.
  • Create discipline by focusing on purpose: Discipline skyrocketed when Abrashoff′s crew believed that what they were doing was important.
  • Listen aggressively: After learning that many sailors wanted to use the GI Bill, Abrashoff brought a test official aboard the ship-and held the SATs forty miles off the Iraqi coast.

From achieving amazing cost savings to winning the highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet, Captain Abrashoff′s extraordinary campaign sent shock waves through the U.S. Navy. It can help you change the course of your ship, no matter where your business battles are fought.

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