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Lessons From Shipboard Management

The problems and concerns of small and medium-sized businesses are also seen in other organizations: schools, colleges, religious institutions, charities, trusts - and ships. D. Michael Abrashof's It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, Warner Books. describes taking on command of a US Navy ship:

'... as the new captain of Benfold, I read some exit surveys, interviews conducted by the military to find out why they are leaving. I assumed that low pay would be the first reason, but in fact it was fifth. The top reason was not being treated with respect or dignity; second was being prevented from making an impact on the organization; third, not being listened to; and fourth, not being rewarded with more responsibility. Talk about an eye opener.'

Abrashof observes that the same findings appear in exit surveys from the civilian sector and concludes that leaders all make the same mistakes. As a naval captain there was little he could about the pay scales, so he concentrated on the other four 'gripes.' He advocates a simple organizational approach: 'The key to being a successful skipper is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. Only then can you find out what's really wrong and, in so doing, help the sailors empower themselves to fix it.'

But, he also observes that the Navy applauds this approach in principle, and negates it in practice because officers are taught never to say the words "I don't know." Many entrepreneurs have worked themselves into the same psychological position - an unwillingness to admit that they do not know everything about their business. Abrashof describes their behaviour as being 'on constant alert, riding herd on every detail.' They micromanage everything and thereby disempower their employees. He concludes that: 'A ship commanded by a micromanager and his or her hierarchy of sub-micromanagers is no breeding ground for initiative.'


 

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It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

by D. Michael Abrashoff
  "The most important thing a captain can do is to see the ship from the eyes of the crew." This belief has successfully guided D. Michael Abrashoff, the captain of one of the U.S. Navy's most modern and lethal warships. Abrashoff has revolutionized how to handle such challenging problems as excessive costs, low morale, sexual harassment, and constant turn-over.
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My Secret Life on the McJob

My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons from Behind the Counter Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style

by Jerry Newman
Jerry Newman, a college professor who has taught business courses for nearly 30 years, went undercover as a bottom-rung worker for the biggest names in fast food, including McDonald's and Burger King. Newman found that fast-food chains were the perfect petri dishes for covert research: High-pressure, high-volume businesses with high-employee turnover. The pecking order was also crystal clear, from fry cook all the way up to store manager.
Of the seven restaurants where Newman worked, some were high-morale, high-productivity machines. Others were miserable, misplaced circles of hell. Yet one common trait stuck out from them all: Each restaurant's respective manager determined the climate of the work environment.
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You're in Charge...What Now?

by Gerald M. Czarnecki
Whether you lead a team of colleagues for a Fortune 500 company or run your own small company with seven employees, You're in Charge...What Now? will help you achieve peak performance results and give you the edge needed to achieve your goals.
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