Turn the Ship Around!

L. David Marquet

Turn the Ship Around!



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A purely authoritarian approach to leadership is inefficient and outdated because it fails to bring out the best in a team’s members. In Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, captain of the nuclear submarine Santa Fe, L. David Marquet, shows us a whole new way to manage a team effectively. What you need to do is to move towards a model in which each leader’s prime responsibility is that of creating other leaders, and inspiring them to do the same with each individual member of the organisation in turn. This will not create conflicts, but rather will help to create cohesion within the team, uniting it through a common purpose, thus leading to incredible improvements in productivity and performance.

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Analysis and key concepts


Managing an organisation, a company department, or any type of team, with an authoritarian approach, will ultimately fail


The leader-follower approach functioned when most of the work was physical. Today, however, more and more tasks require cognitive and technical skills, assessments, and decision making


The leader-leader approach is best when managing an organisation, because it actively involves all team members


Distributing decision-making power, leaving room for reasoning, using the power of language, and overturning supervision mechanisms are some of the most effective methods to decentralise control (and thus improve performance)


To grant more responsibility to managers or staff in a productive way, you need to make sure they know how to manage it


Promoting the organisation’s values ​​and mission is fundamental to creating a group culture that leads to increased productivity and improved performance


It is important to acknowledge and highlight people’s good work




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand why an authoritarian leadership style is inefficient.
  • Realise that the best leadership style is one that aims to create other leaders.
  • Realise how useful it is to delegate part of the decision-making power to the people below you.
  • Understand the importance of having a vision and values within an organisation.
  • Learn about innovative and productive ways to manage a team.

L. David Marquet is a retired former US Navy nuclear submarine captain of the USS Santa Fe. During his time on board the submarine, he was able to transform it from one of the most inefficient vessels, to one of the best in the entire fleet, thanks to his revolutionary “leader-leader” approach to team management. Prior to his military career, he taught at Columbia University School of Professional Studies. Following his experience and study of leadership, he has become one of the most respected best-selling authors in this field.

Publishing house:

Penguin Books