Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

Include Some Humor at Work for More Inspiring Leadership

By focusing intentionally on building a stronger culture, the USS Benfold changed their retention rate from 28% to an astounding 100%, and in the process earned themselves the reputation of being the “it” ship in the U.S. Navy. 

The most effective way Captain Abrashoff could think of to turn the ship around (metaphorically speaking of course, one would hope they were reasonably skilled at literally turning ships around) was to hold personal interviews with each and every crew member, asking them about their hopes, their families, why they joined the Navy, what they disliked and what they liked about the ship.

Based on the conversations, and by being intentional about their culture, the ship became a completely different place to work. Fittingly, the ship’s mantra became: “It’s YOUR ship, take ownership!”

And yes, part of the key to their success was having more fun. And yes, I’m still talking about the U.S. Navy. And yes, I am going to tell you that if a traditionally rule-bound, hierarchical culture such as the U.S. Navy can build a culture that embraces fun, then there’s no reason you can’t as well!

Copyright Michael Kerr, 2013.  Sign up for the free, raved about weekly e-zine Humor at Work at for great ideas and inspiration!  (Or just use the form to the left of the blog here!)


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