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Book Review – It’s Your Ship

In 20 July 1997, Michael Abrashoff became a captain in the navy. From his experience as a captain in the navy, he wrote the book It’s Your ship. This is when; he took control of the ship by the name Benfold. It had 310 crew members that he noted had untapped talents. From his point of view, the crew members needed to make maximum use of these talents to become the best crew in American navy history. Due to his determination to enrich the potential of his crew, he came up with strategies, are useful to businesses even today that he clearly wrote in his book.

He recounts his experience from the moment he entered into the ship. At the time, the crew members had a lot of respect for the new captain, but they lacked unity amongst themselves. As a captain, he thought that when the crew members considered each other as companions, the better they would do their job. At the beginning of the book, Abrashoff says, “… The navy was based on rules that had to be followed and anyone who tried to disobey, even if the person has the at most good intention he would be considered to be putting his career at risk.” He did not agree with this argument and says, “Anyone who does not make mistakes, is one who is not interested in developing his organization.”

As noted earlier, Abrashoff was very eager to prove that he wanted to make his crew members work together as a group. He only required one chance to prove his point. His wish came true four days after he took command when they got a job that was considered very challenging. This was the time that his crew had to refuel at sea. This job was considered very risky since it involved many dangers. One of the dangers was ships crushing onto each other in high tides. Ships could destroy their body and even they could explode.

Unfortunately, Benfold was not very familiar with this exercise. In addition, not many people had tried this maneuver before and only he the captain and one Lieutenant Kevin Hill were well aware of this maneuver. This left him at a very trick position; he knew that the whole exercise would not rely on one man, and so he thought that it was time for the other crew members to perform the maneuver. From this, he argues that companies mostly make losses since they depend on one strategy and do not allow space for improvement and thus sticking to the same old tools.

From his point of stand, many workers should understand how companies run. This point proves to be relevant since when there are other people who understand a critical area in an organization, those who own the jobs will do them proficiently so as not to lose their positions to other people. However, this may cause problems in the running of the company. Most people will force their way into positions of organizations without necessarily having the interest of the firm at heart. Susan.M.Heathfield came up with a theory that supports this point, “.at a work place conflicts of interest arise when employees interests conflicts with those of other fellow employees.”

Managers should take chances with workers who have potential since he or she can help an organization if well supervised. He gives an example of one of his sailors who failed to appear for a job they had to do, and this was his first disciplinary case. The sailor said that he had stayed up late the previous night and so the next morning he woke up late.However, the sailor accepted his mistake and was ready to take any punishment. He gave him his punishment, and later before the sailor was done with his punishment, he came to his and said that his mother was sick.

This left Abrashoff at a tricky position, since he did not want the crew members to see him lenient and as well a dictator. Therefore, he had to be very careful when making a decision. From this point, he came to know that he had to implement the “Washington post” test. Just as the number of people who read the “Washington post”, all the sailors would be watching him. This meant that he had to be very careful in the image he would portray.

The book also says that if there is a rule that does not make sense one should break it. He supports his point by giving a story of how he and his crew were in Dubai; he says that he had a good time while his crew members hated Dubai. This was because he was chauffeured around Dubai in a sedan and did what he wanted while his crew moved around in buses, which had many rules that did not allow the sailors to have fun. This point does not have a lot of relevance, since they were still at work during the trip, and the fact that he broke the rules to allow his crew members to have fun portrays that he was arrogant.

It can be seen that when other crews learnt about this they became displeased and informed the high authorities. This move proves that this point came up out of being arrogant and forgetting the main agenda of his work. He even says that he assigned people who would act as ”fun coordinators” and this shows that he forgot that he was a captain in the navy and was not running a fun organization. This point thus proves to be irrelevant.

In August 2, 1990 Abrashoff was at the Persian Gulf and at 0430 when some twenty one-fighter jets were approaching their ship. Since they did not know whose these jets were, they were very confused. It was later said that the jets belonged to the Kuwait army who did not intend to attack them. Therefore, when he had control of the Benfold, he decided that he was to make the most ready battle ship in the Pacific. This point can be very relevant to those people who want to start businesses. If the business people are to internalize the contents contained in this book, it will act as a guide for them to deal with challenges in their places of work.

Also during his service in the navy, he came up with the theory that any given organization should be run according to a well-improvised system that ensures that work moves smoothly and that repetition of a given job is avoided. He came up with this theory when he was at a place where his ship was being repaired, and he noted that when the hallways were painted, workers who were fixing other places came and destroyed the paint. He thus developed a system that did not give room for repetition of work. Thus, instances where work would be repeated were avoided. This point is very relevant to businesses since when there is a system that allows work to be done smoothly, business experience a lot of success.

He also gives a story of a time when they were to go through the training that involved shooting down incoming missiles. Here, he had to compete against other ships and so he decided to think ahead of his competitors. When the day for the exercise came his ship was the first to give the alert for the incoming missiles, he knew that when the other ships heard this they would be the first to shoot at the missiles, and as he thought they automatically missed. Therefore, he gave a command after his crew had taken their time and they successfully shot down the missiles. This point proves to be relevant to business organizations such that when one organization has put in place strategies that are way ahead of others, they will automatically achieve their objectives before others, and this will make the organization be more successful as compared to others.

On one of his trips with Secretary Perry, they got into a ship that had a satellite TV system in it, and the sailors in it watched the news from all over the world, and it was one of the best ships he had ever seen. However, when they got into another ship, he noticed that there was a great difference since the sailors did not care about what was happening in the outside world. This was because they did not have any given form of media to inform them of what was happening around them. This was when it hit him that there was power in communication; he shared with Perry and was advised to write a letter to the navy secretary about his idea. He had realized that those people who are informed are more successful than those who are not informed. Later, after a lot of opposition his ship became one of the ships which were assigned satellite TV systems. This point is very relevant to businesses since what happens in the outside world affects a business, and the more one knows about the outside world the more competent they will be to conduct their business.

One day he noticed that, volunteering to help the community would be very beneficial to everyone, both the community and those helping. This idea came to him when he asked one of the crew members, if he liked the ship and the sailor said that he hated it. When asked, the sailor said that he did not want to be a sailor but a social worker. Abrashoff immediately started talking about salaries. However, the sailor made him feel stupid when he said that he was not interested in money, but in helping people. Since growing up he was raised in foster homes and did not want other people to go through what he went through.

How is the book relevant in understanding the working of managers?

In his book, Abrashoff says that one should do something that is obvious since it is mostly obvious things that make people win. At the end of the book, he argues that it is important to counsel those you manage when evaluating them, and this way you will be able to understand the decisions that you make regarding them. This will help in reducing stress among those one manages and thus improving productivity for the organization. He gives instances where counseling his crew members worked for him.

The book will prove to be very helpful to anyone who is wishing to start a business or anyone who is managing an organization, to maximize their profits while at the same time minimizing risks.

Who should read this book?

It’s your ship is a book that can be very productive to people who want to engage in business activities. The writer who is a was a captain for the most successful battle ship in American history, bases his writing in such a way that people managers who run organizations benefit from his writing. Thus, the book is very relevant to people who want to make their organizations large and successful.

How long will it take to read this book?

Practically, the book will not take up much of your time, since the writer uses English that is easily understandable and his explanations are very straightforward thus easy to understand. The pages of this book are about 200 and so you will not spend most of your time reading the book.

What is most striking about this book?

What catches the attention of the reader is how Abrashoff uses what he has (his ordinary crew) to make the extraordinary (the best navy crew in America). However, he relates his leadership skills to how organizations should be run. Unlike most captains, he did not fire anyone from his crew but used everyone to make the best out of them. The traits that are shown by him should be emulated by anyone, who wants to start a business, or those, who want to make normal businesses successful.

What is this book about?

It is about a captain named Abrashoff, who talks about his life in the military, and how successful he made his crew the best. He uses actions as a captain to give tips on how managers should manage their different organizations. From his stories, he gives tips that he uses to make theories on how workers and managers should do their work, so as to make their business very successful organizations.

Why should one read this book?

The material contained in the book carries a wealth of descriptive materials that can be used by many people in the contemporary society. Firstly, it is very encouraging to those who want to start their businesses. Furthermore, it gives tips to those people who want to make a change and how their businesses should be run without being fired. The insightful content and experience portrayed by the author is worth to change the lives of people by convincing them to adopt revolutionized mechanisms of managing organizations and firms.

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