Materials Performance

JUL 2018

Materials Performance is the world's most widely circulated magazine dedicated to corrosion prevention and control. MP provides information about the latest corrosion control technologies and practical applications for every industry and environment.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Abrashoff Shares Leadership Experience in Keynote Session On Tuesday morning before a large crowd of attendees, CORROSION 2018 keynote speaker Mike Abrashoff— renowned for his extraordinary leadership as commander of the U.S. Navy's USS Benfold and the ship's dramatic performance turnaround under his tutelage, which he describes in his bestselling book, It's Your Ship—shared a system of management techniques with the audience that he refers to as "The Leadership Roadmap." At 36 years old, Abrashoff took an 18-month assignment on the USS Benfold, which was in the poorest condition of any warship in the U.S. Pacific Fleet. "At the time I accepted the command, this was a low-performing warship with a high accident rate and dirty conditions," he said. "I recognized that I needed to change the environment from a traditional culture of command and control to commitment and cohesion among the crew." To begin this turnaround, Abrashoff interviewed all crew members to learn about their jobs, personal lives, and concerns. He let them know he welcomed their ideas for improvement. "The most important thing a captain can do is see the ship through the eyes of the crew," Abrashoff said. "When I asked for their input I heard, 'no one has ever asked us to think before.' I needed to empower them to be involved and own their performance results." Abrashoff cited one crewmember's idea for solving the grueling necessity of painting the ship every other month. Traditionally, when equipment and components were installed on the ship's topside, they would soon corrode and rust streaks would stain the deck and sides of Mike Abrashoff discusses a system of management techniques that he refers to as "The Leadership Roadmap." Terry Greenfield (left) and Elaine Bowman (right), asked Mike Abrashoff a series of questions on how his leadership concepts relate to NACE. Many CORROSION 2018 attendees gathered to hear Mike Abrashoff describe his successful leadership experiences aboard the USS Benfold. the ship. Abrashoff 's team found that by researching and finding suitable materials to mitigate corrosion of these components, the time required between painting jobs was lengthened to 10 months. "Now we could focus more on our mission of defending our country and continuing to improve our performance," he said. Morale and performance improved dramatically. After 15 months, the USS Benfold received the prestigious Spokane Award for having the highest degree of combat readiness in the Pacific Fleet. Personnel retention increased to nearly 100%, and by spending wisely, Abrashoff and the crew slashed the operating budget by 25%. "Our goal from the beginning was to be better today than we were yesterday, and even just one percent better tomorrow," Abrashoff said. "We were able to do this through what I call 'The Leadership Roadmap,' a practice that empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence." Following Abrashoff 's talk, NACE Vice President Terry Greenfield and NACE Past President Elaine Bowman, manager of the NACE IMPACT Study and IMPACT PLUS suite of corrosion management tools, asked a series of questions focused on how these leadership concepts relate to NACE. Abrashoff reiterated that they apply to the successful leadership of any organization, no matter what size or industry. "Put yourselves in the shoes of the people you're trying to influence," Abrashoff concluded. "Engage the hearts, minds, and loyalty of your crew. As I often told my sailors on the USS Benfold, 'it's your ship.'" 70 JULY 2018 W W W.MATERIALSPERFORMANCE.COM CORROSION 2018 RECAP

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