Turn the Ship Around!

Book reviewTurn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet

In his widely acclaimed book, L. David Marquet outlines in an autobiographic way his path from a leader that leads followers to a leader that creates more leaders.

The book Turn the Ship Around! is worth reading cover-to-cover. While it has a tremendous breadth and exposes the topic skillfully, there is one sequence that summarizes the entire problem that is addressed by the Intent-Based leadership approach introduced in this book:

The captain ordered, “ahead two-thirds.” The officer on deck repeated the order, “ahead two-thirds.”

Nothing happened.

Captain Marquet noticed the helmsman who was to execute the order looked unsettled. When asked what the problem was, the helmsman pointed out that there was no two-thirds in the electric propulsion mode unlike all his previous submarines. When asked, the officer on deck said he repeated the command knowing it was wrong.

David realized that the leader-follower environment meant his crew would do anything he said—even if it was wrong.

For further reading, you may want to refer to the Intent-Based leadership website and the home page of the author.