When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, the ship’s performance ranked at rock-bottom. Worse—the crew didn’t feel safe should they be called into action. Determined to improve performance, but without the power to hire, fire or promote personnel, Abrashoff focused on what he could change: the ship’s culture. His innovative approach broke from the traditional command-and-control leadership style and sought to see the ship from the eyes of his crew—creating a guiding set of principles he calls Grassroots Leadership. When crew members asked Abrashoff to solve a problem, his response became, “It’s your ship—what would you do?” The result was an empowered and engaged team that turned the ship into the Navy’s top performer. People at every level in business relate to Abrashoff’s dilemma: being held accountable for results without having the ability to make the rules. His results-oriented approach equips organizations with the strategies, tactics and tools necessary to unleash innovation, lead significant change and increase operational performance. Publications from Fast Company to The Harvard Business Review have heralded this remarkable story—and Abrashoff’s first book, It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, is a best seller with nearly 1 million copies in print. In 2012, the much anticipated 10th anniversary edition of It’s Your Ship was released with updated content and a new chapter.
“The “day after” is over and the impact is reverberating throughout the organization. .” I truly appreciate the effort you obviously made to incorporate our issues and to position the call to action for them as leaders of teams. The feedback was clear — your presentation ranked #1 for most valuable… count me a fan.”
- Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, North America, Nokia Siemens Networks
“Mike Abrashoff’s remarkable story regarding the transformation of USS Benfold was extremely well received and appreciated by our event participants, who found great inspiration and practicality in his remarks. These are challenging times for many and his perspective on leadership and leading during difficult times is timely as well as thought-provoking.”
– California Bankers Association
VP Communications &
Kelly Nantel is a globally recognized strategist and communications thought leader with more than 25 years of experience in executive communications, policymaking and crisis planning and response. In 2015, she was named Vice President of Communications & Advocacy at the National Safety Council to improve safety in the nation's workplaces, homes and communities, and on the road. Prior to joining NSC, Ms. Nantel served as the Director of Public Affairs at the National Transportation Safety Board, where she significantly enhanced the NTSB's communications capabilities and improved the agency's visibility and reputation through targeted communications programs, innovative use of social media and strategic message development and delivery. Previously, Ms. Nantel led a team of public affairs professionals at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and served as the agency's chief spokesperson on major national security investigations, as well as human & drug trafficking, money laundering and immigration enforcement. She began her communications career at the Massachusetts Department of Correction where she led external affairs followed by a communications management role for the public safety secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety. Ms. Nantel is frequently invited to speak to organizations about effective crisis communications and is a proud member of the National Association of Professional Women, Women in PR and the Public Relations Society of America.