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Former US Naval Commander Abrashoff to Present 27th Annual NTDA Convention Keynote Address


The NTDA is excited to announce that Mike Abrashoff, Former Commander of USS Benfold and author of It’s Your Ship, will present the Keynote Address at the 27th Annual NTDA Convention.


Abrashoff is at the center of one of the most remarkable modern day stories of organizational transformation. At age 36, the Navy selected Abrashoff to become Commander of USS Benfold. At the time, he was the most junior commanding officer in the U.S. Pacific Fleet on a ship that was plagued by low morale, high turnover and abysmal performance evaluations. Few thought the ship could improve. Twelve months later, the ship was ranked number-one in performance using the same crew. People were amazed and the lesson was clear: leadership matters and culture is everything. 


Abrashoff is a motivator and his solution was to establish a set of management principles he calls “The Leadership Roadmap.” At the core of his leadership approach on USS Benfold, his process was one of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion. He engaged the hearts, minds and loyalties of workers with conviction and humility.“


The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. The idea is to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence,” said Abrashoff.


Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Abrashoff served as Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait; and served as the Executive Officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.


Today, Abrashoff is founder of Aegis Performance Group, a consulting firm that works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and performance challenges within their organizations. Abrashoff and his team prompt leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.