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David Marquet          

Leadership Expert, Former Submarine Commander & Author of "Turn the Ship Around!"

David Marquet is a leadership expert, former submarine commander, and the author of the bestsellers "Turn the Ship Around!" and "Leadership is Language."

Captain Marquet imagines a workplace where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity, a place where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work–a place where everyone is a leader.

A 1981 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Captain Marquet served in the U.S. submarine force for 28 years. After being assigned to command the nuclear powered submarine USS Santa Fe–then ranked last in retention and operational standing–he realized the traditional leadership approach of “take control, give orders,” wouldn’t work. He “turned his ship around” by treating the crew as leaders, not followers, and giving control, not taking control. This approach took the Santa Fe from “worst to first,” achieving the highest retention and operational standings in the navy.

After Captain Marquet’s departure from the ship, the Santa Fe continued to win awards and promoted a disproportionate number of officers and enlisted men to positions of increased responsibility, including ten subsequent submarine captains. Further, having been on the ship, Stephen R. Covey said it was the most empowering organization he’d ever seen and wrote about Captain Marquet’s leadership practices in his book, The 8th Habit.

Captain Marquet is the author of "Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders." When it came out, Fortune magazine named it the #1 must-read business book of the year, and USA Today listed it as one of the top 12 business books of all time. In 2020, Captain Marguet released his second book, "Leadership is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say -- And What You Don't."

Captain Marquet retired from the Navy in 2009, and speaks to those who want to create empowering work environments that release the passion, initiative, and intellect of each person. His bold and highly effective framework is summarized as “give control, create leaders.”

He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and in 2015 was named to the American Management Association’s “Leaders to Watch” list.

Speech Topics

The New Playbook for Leaders

Why do we organize the way we do? Why do we run meetings the way we do? Why do we use the words we use when communicating and asking questions? Turns out, most of us are using language, meeting formats and organizational design inherited from the industrial age where the leaders were the thinkers and the workers were the doers.

In today’s work environment, we want every team member to be a thinker and a doer. This makes industrial age language obsolete. Instead of running industrial age plays better, we need to cast them aside for a new playbook.

Based on the WSJ Bestseller Leadership is Language, David Marquet explores the origins of our language at work, how it was shaped by the industrial age and the language we want to use in its place. The pattern that is revealed are the 6 “plays” that leaders run that will optimally balance the rhythm between thinking and doing.

Leaders will be equipped to build environments where people think deeply and broadly and work is disciplined and focused. The structure results in adaptive, agile, and enduring organizations in volatile and uncertain times.

This is something your organization needs to hear, now more than ever.


A Masterclass with David is an intimate conversation where he goes into greater depth on the application of the tools and language of Intent-Based Leadership based on the WSJ Bestseller Leadership is Language. For in person events this includes three consecutive 75-minute sessions featuring high levels of interaction and detailed examinations of examples across industries and specific examples within your own organization. In the online event we will do these conversations 3 weeks apart to allow for practice and reflection. The Masterclass provides a unique environment in which your teams can learn with one of the world’s most acclaimed leadership experts where instead of a transactional, one sided event you will have a transformational experience that can create real cultural change.


7 Keynote Leadership Speakers Bringing Fresh Insights to Their ...

Jonathan Keyser · Lena Requist · Brian Solis · Chris Dyer · Tracey Grace · Carrie Kerpen · David Marquet · Go Specialized With Your Next Speaker.

Why workplaces should prioritize thinking over doing - Business ...

The infamous "La La Land" and "Moonlight" Oscars mix-up is a prime example of how prioritizing doing over thinking can destroy workplaces. David Marquet.

Bestselling Books Week Ended February 8 - WSJ

... The Hidden Power of What You Say—and What You Don't, L. David Marquet/ ... Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad ...

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