11 – David Marquet: Former Nuclear Submarine Commander, Author, Speaker

David MarquetA top graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, David Marquet led a distinguished career in the U.S. submarine force. He commanded the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe, stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Captain Marquet completely turned around Santa Fe, where the crew went from being “worst to first.” Santa Fe continued to win awards after his departure and promoted a disproportionate number of officers and enlisted men to positions of increased responsibility, including 9 subsequent submarine captains. After riding USS Santa Fe, noted author Stephen R. Covey said it was the most empowering organization he’d ever seen and wrote about Captain Marquet’s leadership practices in his book, The 8th Habit.

Since completing his military service David speaks to businesses and groups who want to create empowering work environments that release the passion, initiative, and intellect of each person. This bold and highly effective leadership approach can be summarized as “give control, create leaders.” The result embeds the goodness of the organization in the people and practices instead of the personality of the leader, building enduring and resilient organizations.

David is also an author of the top selling book “Turn the Ship Around which details his leadership philosophy and how he turned the crew of the Santa Fe around.

Highlights From This Podcast:

  • Leadership greatness is unachievable by simply “giving instructions”; instead you must give “intent” and “give control” to your folks.
  • The “Leader-Follower” concept of leadership is outdated and ineffective; “Leader-Leader” concept is much more powerful and relevant for today’s environment.
  • “Commanders Intent” brings out the best of your people and produces the most creative and innovative results; as the leader you don’t have to have all the answers.
  • You must give people the authority to make decisions so they can execute their natural empowerment capabilities; however you people have to be technically and tactfully proficient.
  • Leaders must be confident of their teams “Clarity”; you must be crystal clear on what your team is out to accomplish.
  • “Blind obedience” to orders is a dangerous philosophy and stifles open, honest communication.
  • Leadership is not about “pushing information to the authority”;  instead  we should focus on “pushing the authority to the information”.

Comments 1

  1. There were so many great points brought up in this interview, I don’t know where to begin. So I will simply share one of my favorite statements made by David Marquet. It was something along the lines of: In the beginning, there was only 1 leader and think and 134 ‘doers’. In the end, there was 135 leaders and thinkers.

    To shift from a culture of compliance to the results above? Phenomenal! It’s exactly what our country needs today. At every level.

    ~Samantha Hall

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