Book Review: Turn the Ship Around - L. David Marquet

by @edent | # #

Turn the Ship Around - L. David Marquet

Turn the Ship Around!
Marquet was a Naval Academy graduate and an experienced officer when selected for submarine command. He faced a new wrinkle when he was assigned at the last minute to the Santa Fe, a nuclear powered submarine that he hadn't been trained for. Facing the high-stress environment of a sub where there’s little margin for error, he was determined to reverse the trends he found.

In an effort to understand the world of managers and leaders, I've started reading so-called business books.

I'll admit, this is a fun series of anecdotes. All very gung-ho, and oozing with military patriotism. Certainly designed to appeal to a middle manager who refers to his team as "troops" and thinks winning Swindon's Retailer of The Year (pork products division) is the same as winning a military campaign.

For all that - it's surprisingly good. The author is honest about the mistakes they made, and humble about where things went wrong. It is an excellent study in why it pays to give professionals the confidence to do their jobs and offer frank advice. I'm particularly fond of the way it asks questions of the reader at the end of each chapter. It's not quite a worksheet - but it did cause me to reflect on how I like to be managed and how I could provide a better working environment for my colleagues.

It is - by nature - very process oriented. For those people who tend to work in looser-run offices, it seems odd to have so much emphasis on regulations and a defined order of operations. The military analogy doesn't always translate well into the corporate office.

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