The opening speaker was David Marquet, author of Turn The Ship Around

David is a retired Navy Captain of nuclear subs.  Who when sent from the best performing sub in the navy to the worst in the fleet, had to abandon what he new about leadership to turn the ship around.  Had to act in a very “un-Navy like” way.  Took the worst to the best.  Great book.  Great stories and wisdom.  And much better than I ever imagined he would be.

In traditional Navy leadership you ask questions to check to see if everyone knows what they are supposed to do.  Authority rests in technical knowledge.  Didn’t work at the worst boat.  HAd to learn anew how to ask questions.  So the team and he would learn and so the team would think for themselves.

Best quote of the talk:  “Leaders do not sound like Russell Crowe.”

Other good quotes:

  • If you want people to to think give them the intent, not instruction.  The psychological ownership shifts to them.
  • The object of leading, no matter what you are doing, is to make the people better.  Could be running a ship, a football team, a company, a grocery store.  If your intent isn’t to make them better, you are not leading.
  • Two Pillars of leadership:  Technical Knowledge and the “Right(morally) Thing To Do”
  • Change the language used by the people to get the control in their hands
  • Move Authority to the Information.  The Gap between who has the authority and who has the information is usually the problem
  • No one doesn’t want to take responsibility, but everyone doesn’t want it if the environment is wrong.
  • To take responsibility one needs competence and clarity.  The leader’s job is to give these things to their team.
  • Act your way to new thinking, you can’t think your way to new actions.
  • The way you act is your “Change Program”
  • Think about how behavior will change in a cafeteria if the tables of two are changed to tables of ten.

This leadership stuff matters only if you are in it for the next 25 years.  Not if you are only in it for the next quarter.

The most surprising statement he made was this.  “None of this is very hard.  It makes all the sense in the world.  The only thing hard about it is that it feels wrong when you do it the right way.  We born and then conditioned to do it the other way.”

Definitely will be a Leadership Lunch and Learn selection in the future.