“Our world’s bright future will be built by people who have discovered that leadership is the enabling art.”~ Stephen Covey
A top-of-the-class Naval Academy graduate and seasoned submariner, David Marquet, received the greatest honour any naval officer could receive – he was selected to command his very own submarine.
What he hadn’t realised then, was that it wasn’t just a terrific recognition. It was an equally terrifying challenge.
His submarine, the USS Santa Fe (SSN-763), carried the lowest-rated crew in the entire US submarine fleet—poor morale, poor performance, the worst retention rate, you name it.
A month into his leadership role, his crew was running a simple drill, where they pretended that the submarine’s main nuclear reactor was at fault and the propulsion was shifted to a smaller, electric propulsion motor (EPM).
“Ahead two-thirds,” Captain Marquet ordered the crew.
“Ahead two-thirds,” repeated the officer on deck, David’s second in command.
Nothing happened. The order was not carried out.
Several awkward seconds later, David noticed the junior who’s steering the submarine, squirming in his seat. When asked what was going on, the helmsman reported that there was no ahead two-thirds in this EPM, unlike his previous submarines.
The Captain’s number two then admitted that he repeated David’s command, despite knowing that it was wrong.
Soaked in the traditional leader-follower philosophy, David realized that his crew would carry out anything he ordered, whether right or wrong. While the people at the top had all the authority, those at the bottom had all the information. And when the leader was wrong in such a top-down culture? The entire crew could capsize.
A conventional reaction to this problem would be to push the information up to the authority. But David did the opposite – he moved all the authority down to the information.
“The leader-leader structure is fundamentally different from the leader-follower structure. At its core is the belief that we can all be leaders and, in fact, it’s best when we all are leaders. Leadership is not some mystical quality that some possess and others do not. As humans, we all have what it takes, and we all need to use our leadership.”~ L. David Marquet
With his revolutionary leader-leader model, Captain Marquet transformed the USS Santa Fe from worst to first; they became the highest-rated crew, not just that year, but in the entire US naval history.
The submarine continued to rack up awards and enlisted more officers to positions of command than any other submarine. David didn’t just turn the ship around, he made it into a leadership factory.
As you’d have already guessed, this month’s MRR features stories and lessons from the Captain Marquets of Indian SaaS, steering their own ships around in the cloud.
On behalf of Team SaaSBoomi
Latest on the SaaSBoomi Blog
- A Founder’s Guide to Building and Beyond – from Elad Gil
Pankaj Mishra identifies the most important questions facing the founders of both early and late stage startups, and narrates insights from his conversation with Elad Gil.
- Getting the Quotas Right for Your SaaS Sales Teams
Siva Rajamani shares his learnings on sales quota setting, gained when managing Revenue Operations at Freshworks.
- Why Startups Will Continue to “Make the World a Better Place”
Srikrishnan Ganesan reasons why companies that start off solving specific problems end up aggrandizing their purpose.
- Continuously Optimize the Top of Your SaaS Sales Funnel to Grow Your Revenue
Chaitanya Jha explains the hybrid of “what gets measured gets managed” (Peter Drucker) and “continuous improvement” (Kaizen – Masaaki Imai).
Latest on the SaaSBoomi Podcast
- Making Peace with $1000 MRR
Aditya, founder of Kaapi, shares why it makes sense to get off the funding and growth treadmill and find a way to staying sane apart from a sustainable livelihood.
- The Hard Lessons in Building a Startup
Mausmi and Manasij, founders of Threadsol, talk about some of the most blunt lessons in building a startup, navigating the proverbial “valley(s) of death, and the undying source of entrepreneurial optimism.
From the Community
Sai, our resident storyteller. He helps us craft cohesive and charming content, and like all our volunteers, has a small hand in almost everything that we do together. An active volunteer for the Indian SaaS ecosystem since 2011 and an ardent champion of national progress, Sai believes that SaaSBoomi is the logical conclusion to all the previous attempts to pull the ecosystem together and drive the economy forward.
"India is now blessed to have the opportunity and the talent to build successful SaaS companies that can change economies and lives. SaaSBoomi is arguably the only space in the country where our best minds are trying to teach each other how to do this so our collective contribution to the nation can grow. And nothing excites me more than that." P.S. It's also his birthday today. Happy birthday, Sai! :)