Washington Navy Yard: Turn the Ship Around
This morning, a shooting on the Washington Navy Yard resulted in several injuries and even some fatalities (CBSNEWS). In thinking of the people affected by this situation, our hearts are heavy. With the advents of technology, learning to penetrate a security fire-wall has become a lot more possible than it used to be and although the details behind this event’s facts are yet to be revealed, only the perpetrator(s) can be blamed at this instant. Damage having been done, what can be done by leadership here on to facilitate progress? Situations like this have the potential to usher in great opportunities for leaders to take charge in protecting everyone involved but to also inspire them to act and become a leader. An example of this is the leadership facilitation concept promoted by retired U.S. Navy Captain L. David Marquet, and one which as trainers and educators of leadership we would like to further dissect.
Marquet, Author of the book Turn this Ship Around! How to Create Leadership at Every Level, tells the story of his unsettling experience on a Navy submarine. The ship’s engineer deliberately shutdown the reactor. This was a test for the department’s ability to find and repair the problem. In an effort to resolve the situation, Marquet gave a reasonable order, “Ahead 2/3.” His senior department leader repeated the order to the helmsmen, who sat squirming in his seat. Awkward moments passed, the helmsmen still not carrying out the order. Finally, after Marquet inquired why the order had not been carried out, the helmsmen reported, “Captain, there is no Ahead 2/3 on the EPM.”