The Bregman Leadership Podcast
Episode 29

David Marquet

Turn The Ship Around

How can we relinquish control and trust our team? For starters, eliminate the word they from your vocabulary. Former captain of the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe turned leadership coach David Marquet believes in creating leaders at every level of an organization. By empowering his crew, he not only transformed them from the worst to the best, but created life-long leaders ten years after the fact. Learn how to change a mindset without a lecture, and try a fun restaurant game to practice relinquishing control in your everyday life.


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Book: Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
Bio: A top graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, L. 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 earned numerous awards for being the most improved ship in the Pacific and the most combat-effective ship in the squadron. Santa Fe continued to win awards after his departure and promoted a disproportionate number of officers and enlisted men to positions of increased responsibility. 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.


  1. Pradip Shroff says:

    One of the best podcast I have heard. Excellent clarity of views.

  2. Sue France says:

    I have a problem with saying ‘we’, no matter what, instead of ‘they’. I think their should be a caveat. I understand that David is saying that if everyone says ‘we’ it leads to a sense of team and they are not working in different silos of different departments or different country offices. However, this way of thinking is what brought Arthur Andersen down which was a global company of 85000 people who lost their jobs. To explain this, Andersen (was a fantastic company to work for (I was there for 20 years) because we were all one team and we felt and still do feel a great bond between Andersen people worldwide (even today as many are connected through LinkedIn and even if you have never met them before). However, when people in Houston Office decided to shred documents to do with Enron which was the start of the fall of Andersen, instead of the global CEO saying this is their fault in Houston Office, they are the ones who did this and they should be sacked/reprimanded, the Global CEO instead said “we are one firm, we are all in it together” which resulted i the firm went down and disappeared. Just like a ship would. I am very much into team work and my boss always said we and I liked it, but there comes a time when sometimes you should say ‘they’. We may have had the same outcome but it may also have resulted in just Houston Office closing and not the rest of the world who had nothing to do with what happened in Houston.

  3. Really enjoyed this podcast, some great, practical ideas to try. I work with both emerging, and senior leaders, from across different sectors and I think this could be relevant to lots of people – whether you’re trying to give up control or support others to develop their leadership.

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