My notes from Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders.
- Early in the book, Marquet tells a story of having failed to empower officers under his command. The story of being unable to “empower” stuck with me. It reminded me of experiences, earlier in my career, of failing to empower people reporting into me.
- On empowerment, Marquet said “Empowerment is not how I want to be managed.” and “Empowering others feel manipulative. I believe people are empowered by nature.” This is often how I felt about empowerment.
- If not empowerment, then what? While he doesn’t mention this specifically, the way I interpreted his leadership style throughout the book is that he applied the Situational Leadership style.
- Marquet tells a story of being reprimanded after coming up with a brilliant ruse to sink an enemy submarine (during practice). The moral of that story is that a great plan which is too complex for others to execute is, in fact, a bad plan.
- His story of being assigned to Santa Fe, of feeling dejected and finding the motivation to carry through is very inspiring. It is also a good example of how to be a good leader – his commander applied great leadership skills to help Marquet through it.
- On being told he’d have the full support of his command officer to succeed, then being told… “But, I don’t think it’s a good idea if you ask for A, B, and C” gave me a new perspective on “support.”
- One view of support is that “I trust you to do this” and “I think you are the best person for this job.”
- There are good ways (better than I have been doing) to communicate “these are the limitations to what we can provide to you.”
- Watch out for signs of low morale! People avoiding mistakes, meeting the minimum requirements, and “do whatever they tell me to do.”
- In chapter 13, Marquet tells a story of giving more responsibility to department heads too soon. In chapter 17, he talks about the importance of training in order for delegation to succeed. It feels like these two points should’ve been tied together more closely. Though I’m really just nitpicking now.
I suspect, if you are in the tech industry where there is already a lot of talk about autonomy and ownership, you like already understand the theme of this book. If you believe that people need to be led or that a great personality is needed to inspire others, then you should check this out; It will offer you a useful counter perspective.